Ronelo Alvarez, DILG chief in Bukidnon province, said that since only one recall initiative is allowed against a local chief executive in his whole three-year term, “petitioners should be extra careful in gathering signatures of the required 25 percent of registered voters”.
"Kung hao shao na, delikado mo backfire kay mawalaan og salig ang tawo (If it is questionable, then it’s dangerous as the public may lose trust),” Alvarez told MindaNews in an interview Thursday.
He said “extra care is needed in gathering the signatures as it is the basis for a recall initiative to prosper.”
Registered voters file a petition for recall proceedings at the local office of the Commission on Elections along with the signatures of the required number of voters. The local Comelec office then conducts verification of signatures.
"Comelec will dismiss the petition if they find the signatures questionable," he said.
Former Mayor Jose M. Galario, Jr. has publicly announced he has started a signature campaign to petition the recall of Valencia Mayor Leandro Jose Catarata, claiming public clamor to oust him due to alleged irregularities.
The Catarata camp has welcomed the move but pressed that they are pushing for good governance, denying allegations of irregularities.
Alvarez said a recall move is an exercise of democracy but warned that partisan campaigning in the recall proceedings could heat up the political climate in Valencia City ahead of the 2010 elections.
He said once a recall election is declared in the city, any registered voter could file a certificate of candidacy to contest Catarata.
Catarata defeated Galario in May 2007 although he also lost to Galario in 2004. Both politicians won by slim margins.
Alvarez said calls for both politician to reconcile may be good but said it would be "very remote" citing the “country's political culture”.
He said the recall petition could only be filed in July yet as required by law to allow a period of one year for the official subject for recall to assume his post. If the petition would be filed, Alvarez said it would be first in the province.
The power of recall for loss of confidence could be exercised by registered voters of a local government unit to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs, according to Sec. 29, Chapter 5 of the Local Government Code of 1991.
The Local Government Code requires 25 percent of the total number of registered voters in pushing for a recall election, according to Sec. 70d, Chapter 5.
He said recall elections work best against officials who have very clear wrong doings, falling easy to loss of confidence by the public.
Alvarez stressed that the result of the recall election, not just the turnout of the signature campaign, is the measure of "loss of confidence."
"The real arbiter for loss of confidence is the people with their ballots," he said. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)