Comelec terminates recall petitions for local posts
Budgetary and time constraints are the main reasons the Commission on Elections (Comelec) voted to discontinue all actions on some 38 pending recall petitions for various local positions in the country.
According to Comelec Resolution No. 9374, which was approved unanimously on March 7 and whose text was released over the weekend, the poll body would need about P114.5 million for 14 recall petitions that had already been declared with finality as being sufficient in form.
“The commission sees that it is no longer feasible to conduct recall elections at this point in time, considering the budgetary constraints and the tedious preparatory activities needed for the conduct of recall elections,” the resolution stated.
The Comelec said that while it annually proposed a “considerable” amount to the Department of Budget and Management for the conduct of special elections, including recalls, plebiscites and referendums, the budget for democratic exercises had always been excluded.
The poll body said it had resorted to realigning its available funds to finance the expenses needed for the exercises.
This year, however, the commissioners said they were in a quandary.
“The commission has started preparing for the conduct of the May 13, 2013, automated national and local elections… The budget given to the commission is not enough for the conduct of automated national and local elections, and available funds will be allocated for the expenses of the [May 2013 polls],” the election body said.
The resolution also pointed out that a recall, according to the rules, must be held not later than one year immediately preceding the next regular local election, which means that for 2012, recall elections may only be held on or before May 12, 2012.
Of the petitions for recall found to be sufficient, the Comelec pointed out that only those against Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan, and against Mayor Ramon “Boyo” Durano Jr. of Danao City, had undergone signature and thumbmark verification proceedings.
Durano’s brother, Danao Vice Mayor Ramon “Nito” Durano, who is spearheading the recall in Danao, said Saturday that he would ask his lawyer to question the Comelec resolution, adding there was still time to hold a recall election.