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Comelec paves way for recall elections

Posted on: February 24, 2009

Suspension on petitions lifted

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 20:53:00 01/28/2009

Filed Under: Elections, Eleksyon 2010, Politics

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc has lifted its suspension against recall petitions that have been pending before the poll body, Chairman Jose Melo said.

This developed after the Comelec’s P5.4 billion budget for 2009 was approved from which P50 million would be allotted for recall elections.

But Melo said that “as of the moment, the Comelec does not have the budget [for recall polls] because the papers have not yet been signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. I called the Department of Budget and Management but they have not given me an answer when the budget can be released.”

Melo warned that the delay in the release of the funds might “be a problem because there would not be enough time.”

Melo said the Comelec would be able to hold at least two recall elections from the six petitions that had been filed and which the poll body found “sufficient in form and substance.”

These are recall petitions against Pampanga Governor Eddie Panlilio, Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan, Cabuyao Mayor Isidro Hemedes Jr., Mauban Mayor Rexito Bantayan, Matag-Ob Mayor Gervasio Basbas, and Pantabangan Vice Mayor Rossman Carry Uera.

In Resolution No. 8579, the Comelec said that it was now “imperative to lift Comelec Resolution No. 8547” in anticipation of the approval of the General Appropriations Act of 2009.

Promulgated in Nov. 13, 2008, Resolution No. 8547 “put all recall petitions on the back burner until funds are made available,” Melo said.

“Now that we have the funds, we are lifting Resolution 8547 so the people behind the petitions found to be sufficient in substance and form can now move and start the verification process,” said Melo.

The process involves a presentation of documentary evidence by the petitioners that they are registered voters of their provinces, which Comelec officials in these areas will verify.

The verified documents will then be sent to the main Comelec office in Manila for authentication and certification after which funds will be released for the conduct of the recall elections.

Melo had said that the Comelec would conduct recall elections in areas where the verification process would be completed first.

Melo said this would be a challenge for the petitioners.

“This new resolution enables those who petition for recall elections of these six local officials to start their work. The Comelec will only accommodate holding of the recall polls to petitions that are first to complete the verification process. The Comelec will be reactive to their vigilance,” said Melo.

Melo said they planned to hold the recall elections before May 10.


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