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Puerto mayor’s recall upheld

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has affirmed the sufficiency of the recall petition against Mayor Lucilo Bayron of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

The Comelec en banc voted 6-0 to uphold its resolution denying  Bayron’s motion for reconsideration  and clarification on the poll body’s decision in April to declare the recall petition as sufficient.

The decision was promulgated on Dec. 29, 2014 by Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr.; Commissioners Lucenito Tagle, Elias Yusoph, Christian Roberto Lim, Luie Tito Guia and Arthur Lim.

The Comelec en banc also addressed Bayron’s request for clarification citing that the suspension of proceedings relative to the process of recall must necessarily be limited to those entailing expenses.

The petition to recall Bayron was initiated by former city administrator Alroben Goh in March 2014, due to “loss of trust and confidence” in the mayor, after a series of alleged deterioration in the peace and order situation, the city’s poor tourism performance, and other governance issues.

Various groups likewise denounced Bayron for allegedly playing deaf to their call to immediately act to stop the rising incidents of prostitution in the city.

Bayron argued that the recall petition was prematurely filed as it was done before June 2014, or within his first year in office, thus violating the Local Government Code.

The Comelec ruled that the limitations set by law—a one-year ban after an official’s assumption in office and another one-year ban before a regular election—“pertains to the holding of the recall elections itself” and not to the filing of the petition.

The Comelec also dismissed Bayron’s argument regarding the supposed flaws in the petition itself and the manner by which the Comelec acted upon it.

The recall election against Bayron will happen anytime soon and won’t be stopped anymore, the Comelec said.

Goh charged Bayron in his petition of allege graft and corruption or nepotism, worsening economy as seen in the decline of flights to Palawan, peace and order, energy crisis, etc., as reasons.

Goh led some 34,666 supporting petitioners against Bayron,  more than 15 percent of Puerto Princesa City’s voting population of 128,899.

On Nov. 26, 2014, the Supreme Court ordered Comelec to hold the recall election vs Bayron, and  even chastised Brillantes for causing unreasonable delay due to an unfounded and flimsy budget issue.

“Considering that there is an existing line item appropriation for the conduct of recall elections in the 2014 GAA, we see no reason why the Comelec is unable to perform its constitutional mandate to ‘enforce and administer all laws and regulations relative to the conduct of recall,” the SC ruled.

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