THE Supreme Court has paved the way for the Commission on Elections to conduct a recall election against Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron.
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended.
The high court ordered the recall after it granted a petition criticizing two Comelec resolutions that suspended all recall proceedings in the country, including that for Puerto Princesa City, citing lack of funds to carry out the recall proceedings.
The petition was filed by Alroben Goh, a former administrator of Puerto Princesa who cited loss of trust and confidence in Bayron for his action. His petition was signed by 40,409 registered registered voters of Puerto Princesa, which was more than the required 19,335 signatures.
As a result of the high court’s decision on his petition, the Comelec will now have to hold recall proceedings against Bayron.
“We partially reverse and set aside Resolution 9864 insofar as it directed the deferment of any all actions and proceedings on recall petitions,” the high court said in its decision.
“We reverse and set aside Resolution 9882 and direct the Commission on Elections to immediately carry out the recall election of Mayor Lucilo Bayron of Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Code and Comelec Resolution 7505.”
Following the high court’s decision, the Comelec said Wednesday it will use its P5-billion savings to finance all recall proceedings including that against Bayron.
The high court said the Comelec erred when it issued Resolutions 9864 and 9882 because the 2014 General Appropriations Act provides the appropriation to allow the Comelec to perform its Constitutional mandate.
“There is no need for supplemental legislation to authorize the Comelec to conduct recall elections for 2014,” high court said. It said the poll body had fiscal autonomy and that its chairman had the power to augment items in its appropriations from savings.
The Court also cited an existing line item appropriation in the 2014 GAA for the conduct of recall elections.
“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 relative to the conduct of recall elections,” the high court said.
“Should the funds in the 2014 budget be deemed insufficient, the Comelec chairman may exercise his authority to augment such line item appropriation from the Comelec’s existing savings, as this augmentation is expressly authorized in the 2014 GAA.”