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Bulacan recall election delayed as gov hides

MALOLOS CITY—All legal questions on the recall elections against incumbent Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado have already been settled at the Commission on Election en banc but time was running out for the holding of a special election within the period allowed under the law.

Even the Supreme Court, in its ruling released last Feb.16, dismissed the petition for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the recall elections which was given a green light by the Comelec in its latest ruling last January 30, 2015.

Critics said the reason for the delay was because the governor has not reported for work at the Provincial Capitol here nor can be found at his residence in Bgy. Gatbuca, Calumpit hence he cannot be served personally the Comelec resolutions and other which are mandatory requirements of due process.

Instead, Bulacan Provincial Election Supervisor Atty. Elmo T. Duque sent the elections processes via registered mail (thru postal service) as an alternative requirement set forth under Section 15 of Comelec Resolution 7505, the implemention rules of recall elections under the Local Government Code of 1991.

Duque added that he has also served a copy of the En Banc Resolutions certifying the sufficiency of the Petition for Recall, Summary of Votes, the separate Concurring and Dissenting Opinions, to the Secretary of the Sanggunian Panlalawigan as required also under Resolution 7505.

However, Joe Villanueva, convenor of the watchdog group Philippine Crusader for Justice (PCJ) which is closely monitoring the progress of the recall initiative signed by 319,707 registered voters in the province, said the move of PES Duque is tantamount to a ‘death sentence’ on the proposed recall elections.

Villanueva called on Gov. Alvarado to be man enough to face the verdict of thousands of Bulakenyos who have expressed loss of confidence on his leadership due to various irregularities and corruption charges at the Capitol.

In an interview, Duque said that he resorted to sending all the Comelec resolutions and other required processes via registered mail because the personal service is a mandatory requirement. And sending via registered mail is specifically the other mode prescribed in the IRR of the Omnibus Election Code.

The PCJ convenor also called on Comelec commissioners to expedite the schedule of the recall elections in order to meet the required 45-day campaign period including the minimum10-day verification of signatures as set forth under the Omnibus Election Code.

Last week, the Highest Tribunal gave the go signal to the Comelec to conduct recall elections against Alvarado and Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron.

In its full court session, the SC voted to dismiss the petition of Alvarado for certiorari and deny the application for TRO challenging the Comelec’s June 3, 2014 and January 30, 2015 orders, both of which affirm the initial findings on the sufficiency of the petition for recall.

In a television interview after the SC decision was released, Gov. Alvarado dismissed the recall move as the handiwork of his political opponents, referring to the Mendozas of Bocaue.

Alvarado’s remarks echoed his earlier statements to local media men that his political opponents are too impatient to wait for the 2016 elections.

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