Group calls off recall move vs. CDO mayor; says signatures not enough

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/07 March) — An online group trying to gather enough signatures to recall Mayor Vicente Emano ended its campaign Tuesday after failing to get the signatures of at least 15 percent of the city’s 225,000 registered voters.

Lawyer James Judith, co-convenor of the Save Cdo Movement said their group gathered 53,000 signatures since they started their signature drive last Jan. 4, 2012.

“Unfortunately we were able to verify only 38,000 signatures. We found 15,000 signatures to be spurious,” Judith said in a press conference.

The recall drive launched by the Save CDO Movement is seen as the most serious challenge against Emano, who first became mayor in 1998. After his three terms ended in 2007, he ran and won as vice mayor and was again elected mayor in 2010.

The movement first appeared on the social networking site Facebook after a flood brought by Storm Sendong devastated the city in December last year.

Many of its members are middle-class residents, politicians and students who are disgruntled with how the city government had responded to the effects of the calamity that also claimed hundreds of lives.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce that we were not able to gather 45 thousand signatures as of today,” Judith said.

Had the signatures been gathered, Judith said they would have gone on to the next steps to recall Emano.

“We have already raised the money needed to file the recall case with the Comelec (Commission on Elections),” he said.

Judith said their group suspected that the” dubious signatures” they discovered were part of a plan to discredit them.

He said they were able to check the veracity of the signatures by comparing these with the list of voters published online by the Comelec. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)