The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave the green light for the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to proceed with the recall elections in Bulacan province and Puerto Princesa City in Palawan.
The High Tribunal in en banc deliberations ruled to dismiss outright the application for temporary restraining order (TRO) pleaded by Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado of Bulacan and Mayor Lucilo Bayron of Puerto Princesa.
Both Alvarado and Bayron are seeking to halt the recall elections, by assailing the Comelec order allowing the special polls to proceed in their areas of jurisdiction.
In the case of Alvarado, the High Tribunal found no merit on the contention of the governor that the verification of signatures were not yet completed.
“The Court voted to dismiss the petition 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 as to the sufficiency of the petition for recall filed by private respondent Mendoza against petitioner Gov. Sy-Alvarado,” the High Tribunal ruled.
Alvarado sought to stop the recall process against him, arguing that the recall petition was insufficient in substance as the signatures contained in the petition were not authenticated and verified according to Comelec Resolution No. 7505, sections 6 and 12.
He contended that the evaluation involves the determination whether the signatories in the recall petition are registered voters of Bulacan, and whether the petition was able to gain support of at the required percentage of the province’s voting population.
He went further by saying, “the subject recall petition was initiated by private respondent Perlita Mendoza, it is basic that a recall cannot be initiated by only one person, but has to be confirmed by the required number of co-petitioners supporting the petition.”
Bayron petition dismissed
In the case of Bayron, the High Tribunal “voted to dismiss the petition, which raised the issue of whether the one-year limitation of a recall election under section 74 [b]of the Local Government Code, should be counted from the filing of the petition or from the conduct of the recall election itself. It also voted to deny the application for a TRO. The Court emphasized that this order is immediately executory.”
The High Tribunal stressed that the issue of the sufficiency of the recall elections for Mayor of Puerto Princesa had been passed upon with finality in G.R. No. 212584 involving the same parties, albeit raising a different ground.
“The Court noted that petitioner Mayor Bayron is barred from raising new issues in a new petition because of the principle of res judicata [adherence to precedents]under Rule 9, section 1 in relation to Rule 39, section 47[b]of the Rules on Civil Procedure, which makes judgements in a previous case conclusive between the same parties as to ‘any other matter that could have been raised in relation thereto,’” it added.
The case stemmed from the recall petition filed by Alroben Goh, a resident in Puerto Princesa, against Bayron.
Bayron argued that Comelec committed grave abuse of discretion when it ruled that the recall petition was not prematurely filed when it was in fact filed more than nine months after he assumed his office.
He argued that the mere filing of the recall petition is a violation of paragraph (b), Section 74 of the Local Government Code which prohibits the filing of petition seeking the recall of an elective local official within one year from the date of the official’s assumption of office.