Comelec: Samar recall polls a go
TACLOBAN CITY—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc dismissed the motion for reconsideration of its earlier ruling declaring the petitions for recall elections against Samar Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and brother Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan as sufficient in form and substance.
The petition to recall Governor Tan was filed by Aurelio Bardaje of Catbalogan while the petition against Vice Governor Tan was initiated by Elvisa Lopez, a resident of Calbayog City on Dec. 7, 2010, barely six months after they were declared winners of the May 10 elections.
The petition, supported by mayors and town councilors, contained 73,889 signatures. The allegation of graft against the Tan siblings was cited as the reason for the petition.
On Jan. 12 this year, the Comelec en banc ruled that the two petitions were sufficient in form and substance as these met the requirements set by the Local Government Code for the recall process.
The Tan siblings filed a motion for reconsideration, but in a 10-page ruling signed by Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. and six commissioners and issued last Aug. 5, the Comelec en banc dismissed the motion for reconsideration.
Governor Tan could not be reached for comment but a close aide said that she has yet to receive a copy of the latest Comelec decision.
Comelec Regional Assistant Director Felicisimo Embalsado declined to comment.
But lawyer Maria Bernadett Sardillo, counsel of the petitioners, said the dismissal of the motion for reconsideration paves the way for the holding of recall elections possibly within the year.
In their motion for reconsideration filed at the Comelec on Feb. 23, the Tan siblings claimed that the petition for recall against them was insufficient in form and substance.
The Tans said the recall petition was not supported by data on voting population and other technical details.
The Comelec, however, said the petition met the requirements set by the Local Government Code for recall of local officials.
The decision said the Comelec can’t impose requirements for recall elections other than those already set by existing laws.
For the recall petition to be considered sufficient in substance and form, the Local Government Code requires the submission of the recall petition containing the name of the elected official subject of the petition and the names and addresses of petitioners, including the barangay, city or municipality, the local legislative district and the province of the petitioners.
The Local Government Code also requires a brief narration of the reasons for the recall move.
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