Comelec throws out bid to stop Palawan recall

a778cb9ca9beef56631b10331712c5f5THE Commission on Elections dismissed with finality the appeal of Mayor Lucilo Bayron against the recall process that is being held in Puerto Princesa City.

In a 14-page en banc decision, the Comelec en banc dismissed Bayron’s appeal for lack of merit and for failing to substantiate his allegations.

“Apart from his self-serving allegations, respondent-appellant failed to prove the same. It is settled that upon him who alleges rests the burden of proof. This burden rests upon respondent-appellant on the first instance before the EO (election officer), which he miserably failed to discharge,” the Comelec said.

The resolution also stated that Bayron failed to prove his allegation that the verification process was not accomplished within the period allowed, which was from Feb. 20 to Feb. 28, 2015.

It also denied Bayron’s allegations that the EO erred in his findings that the 12,322 signatures were not forged or falsified; the 277 thumb marks identified as blurred, smudged, indistinct were deemed valid and the signatures of deactivated voters were also considered valid.

“Finally, it bears stressing that the grounds invoked by respondent-appellant, at the most are mere procedural irregularities that do not constitute grounds for the dismissal of the recall petition,” the Commission en banc wrote.

The resolution also dismissed Bayron’s claim that the EO “did not conduct independent assessment of the signatures objected to as forged or falsified.”

The poll body explained that the EO in fact conducted an independent examination of the questioned signatures in order to arrive at a conclusion as their authenticity.

The Comelec also found that Bayron was given the chance to raise his objections during the verification process, but he failed to do so in the manner provided for in the rules.

The recall petition against Bayron was initiated by Alroben Goh, a former city information of Puerto Princesa. Bayron was accused of graft and corruption.

The poll body then ordered its election officer in Puerto Princessa City to prepare the calendar of activities for the conduct of the recall elections.

 “[The] Deputy Executive director for Operations is hereby directed to prepare the calendar of activities for the conduct of the recall elections for Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, should the petition for recall be deemed sufficient,” the resolution stated.

The Commission en banc also ordered that the EO, within 24 hours from the receipt, must issue a certification that the “total number of signatures and thumb marks found as valid by the Commission en banc satisfies the required minimum number of petitioners.”

Last March 3, Bayron stormed the city coliseum where the recall process was being undertaken and video posted on YouTube showed him snatching a Comelec document and tearing it up in the middle of the proceedings.

Jimenez said earlier  he does not understand why Bayron opted to do such actions considering that doing so would not change the recall decision of the Comelec.

 “The document is just a representation of what happened. Why tear it up? We can just produce another one as long as we don’t change anything in the content. It doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything, It certainly does not stop whatever that order was saying should be done,” Jimenez stressed.

Under existing recall guidelines, the verification of the signatures will be followed by the announcement by the Comelec en banc of the acceptance of candidates to the position, with Bayron automatically a candidate, and set the date of the recall elections.

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