IN SAMAR PROVINCE Latest SC decision to pave the way for recall election
TACLOBAN CITY-The decision of the Supreme Court dismissing the motion for reconsideration filed by Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and brother Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan is just one stumbling block lifted for the recall election to proceed.
Thus said Elections Assistant Regional Director Felicisimo Embalsado and Samar provincial election supervisor Maria Corazon Montallana in separate interviews.
As this developed, Rosa Jessica Uy-Delgado, who has announced her intention to run for governor in case a recall election takes place, described the High Court decision as a “very good development.”
Both Embalsado and Montallana said that for the recall elections to take place, the Commission on Elections en banc has to secure an order from the Presidential Elections Tribunal (PET) to lift an order it earlier issued against the poll body restraining it to start the verification of the signatures.
“The decision of the Supreme Court only pertains to the motion for reconsideration filed by the governor (and her vice governor brother) and the Supreme Court is a separate entity from that of the Presidential Elections Tribunal,” Embalsado said.
The special tribunal, which has the sole jurisdiction on electoral protest involving President and Vice President, is hearing a protest filed by defeated vice presidential candidate and now Trade and Industry Sec Mar Roxas against Vice President Jejomar Binay. Samar is one of the areas included on his electoral protest.
On Aug. 27 of this year, the Comelec suspended the process of verifying the signatures on the recall petition upon the order from the PET. The signature verification was supposed to start last August 29 and to end on Sept.20.
About 73,889 registered voters of Samar have signed up the petition against the governor while another 73,250 enlisted to oust the vice governor.
The Supreme Court dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by the Tan siblings, who faces the ouster bid allegedly due to their incompetence, seeking to stop the recall petition against them for lack of merit.
“I am hopeful that the recall elections in Samar will proceed as we have hoped for. I have to admit that the motion for reconsideration that they have filed before the Supreme Court was one of our fears; that it will be unfavorable to us,” Uy-Delgado, reached on her phone, said.
Uy-Delgado said that she is also positive that the PET will lift its earlier order so the Comelec could start the signature verification.
Samar provincial election supervisor Montallana said that while she is ready to start the verification process, she could not proceed yet.
“We really have to ask first the permission from the PET which is a separate entity from the Supreme Court. Otherwise, we will be cited for contempt. But we are ready (to conduct the verification of signatures),” Montallana said.
According to her, their central office has already made a formal request to the PET sometime last month for the tribunal to lift its order.
The PET, she said, has yet to act on the request.
By Joey A. Gabieta
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