Puerto Princesa mayor says recall polls 'istorbo'

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2015 03:46 PM | Updated as of May 08 2015 11:46 PM

Asks Congress to review law on recall elections

Says recall polls not an LP vs UNA proxy war

PUERTO PRINCESA - Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron urged national authorities to revisit the law on recall elections, criticizing Friday's recall polls as a disturbance to his running of the city.

Bayron cast his vote at the San Pedro Central School around 9 a.m. Friday. He is being challenged by 21 others in this recall election, including former Mayor Edward Hagedorn.

"Para sa akin, nakaistorbo ang eleksyong ito, pero kailangan harapin. Istorbo, dahil dapat nanunungkulan, pero natuloy ang recall election kaya naistorbo," he said.

"Magandang panawagan sa Congress, Senate na ayusin itong batas sa recall... Ang kailangan na signature 19,000 lang para matuloy. Napakababa... Sana itaas threshold. Kung abusado ang nanunungkulan, kahit mataas threshold, marami pipirma dahil abusado o di karapat- dapat."

Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal shared this view. "There is the imperative need to revise or amend our recall law, if not to totally abolish it. The recall was intended for a four-year term of office of a local government official. Our lawmakers did not take into consideration the lack of political maturity of some of our politicians who cannot accept defeat in good grace that, immediately after the election, they would immediately initiate recall proceedings against the winning candidate in an open display of unwillingness to accept the fact that they have been repudiated by the people."

"Yes, the threshold to hold recall polls is so small that it is so easy for one to reach that threshold as all the loser has to do is convince again those who voted for him which practically compose the percentage required by law and, ergo, a recall is allowed," Macalintal added.

Republic Act 9244 prescribes the following required number of signatures for a valid recall proceeding to be initiated:

1. At least twenty-five percent (25%) in the case of local government units with a voting population of not more than twenty thousand (20,000);

2. At least twenty percent (20%) in the case of local government units with a voting population of at least twenty thousand (20,000) but not more than seventy-five thousand (75,000): Provided, That in no case shall the required petitioners be less than five thousand (5,000);

3. At least fifteen percent (15%) in the case of local government nits with a voting population of at least seventy-five thousand (75,000) but not more than three hundred thousand (300,000): Provided, however, That in no case shall the required number of petitioners be less than fifteen thousand (15,000); and

4. At least ten percent (10%) in the case of local government units with a voting population of over three hundred thousand (300,000): Provided, however, That in no case shall the required petitioners be less than forty-five thousand (45,000).

Puerto Princesa has 127,000 registered voters. The recall petition had over 22,000 signatures.

'NOT A PROXY WAR'

Bayron also dismissed observations that the recall election is a proxy war and opening salvo for the 2016 elections between the country's top two parties, the Liberal Party (LP) and the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Bayron noted he did not get any support from his party, UNA. Hagedorn is running under the LP.

"Di totoo yun. Yung partido na kinabibilangan ko, di tumulong o nakialam dito... Talagang local na laban ito. Siguro sa local, ano ito, Pacquiao-Mayweather battle royale," he said.

"Confident tayo, very confident, walang kaba. Ewan ko kung may kinalaman sa partido, ang kalaban natin sa administration party. Maraming may kinalaman, pero ayoko maniwala. Hindi eh, di ako nasuportahan ng UNA. Sariling kayod ito. Di ko masasabi dahil sa UNA dahil sa pagsisikap ko rito," he added.

Puerto Princesa City's recall election has been going smoothly. ABS-CBN visited three polling centers with some of the biggest number of voters in the city and monitored no untoward incidents.

These are at the Mateo Jagmis Elementary School in San Miguel, San Pedro Central School in San Pedro, and Santa Monica Elementary School in Santa Monica.

The local provincial election supervisor, Urbano Arlando, told ABS-CBN in a text message that for the rest of the city, they have not received any problems.

Arlando, however, could not yet give an estimate on the voter turnout today.