Bulacan governor seeks TRO vs recall

MALOLOS CITY—Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado has filed an urgent petition before the Regional Trial Court to stop the Provincial Election Supervisor of Bulacan from conducting the validation of signatures of some of  some 300,000  recall-petitioners slated to start Monday, March 9.

In a petition,  Alvarado’s counsel  Wendell Dimaculangan asked the court to issue ex-parte a temporary restraining order effective for 72 hours and,  in the alternative, a 20-day TRO enjoining  acting-Bulacan PES Jerbee Anthony Cortez from proceeding with the recall elections.

The case filed Wednesday afternoon before the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Bulacan RTC, was assigned to the sala of RTC-Branch 83 Judge Guillermo Agloro after a special raffle conducted on the same day by RTC Executive Judge Theresa Mendoza-Arcega.

Agloro has set the case for hearing today (March 6) at 10 in the morning. Perlita Mendoza, the principal petitioner in the recall initiative was notified by the court sheriff about the hearing today, although she was not made a party in the civil complaint filed by Alvarado.

The civil action filed by the governor was seen as a last minute legal remedy to delay the scheduled 15-day verification of signatures and thumb marks from March 9 to 23, a 15-day mandatory process before the Comelec En Banc sets the date of the recall elections expected sometime on the first week of May.

Cortez was installed as acting PES of Bulacan after former Election Officer  Elmo T. Duque was relieved effective Tuesday for still undisclosed reasons.

Alvarado’s petition was anchored on several grounds among them was the non-compliance with the requirements of posting and publication of the ‘Petition for Recall’ as required by Sec. 15 and 16 of Comelec Resolution 7505, the implementing rules governing all recall elections under the Local Government Code of 1991.

Alvarado said he was being deprived of due process for the failure defendant-PES Cortez to furnish him a copy of the Petition, before scheduling the verification of signatures and thumb marks of  recall-petitioners, which is required under Sections, 15, 16, and 17 of Resolution 7505.

For her part, petitioner Mendoza earlier told MST that Alvarado’s move was cheap and obviously a last-ditch attempt to delay in every possible way all the legal processes in the recall initiatives that she has dutifully complied with.

Bulacan Board Member Michael Fermin (1st District) said Governor Alvarado should not resort to squid tactics and interfere with the independent processes of the Comelec which is an independent Constitutional Commission.

 “If he (Alvarado) believes that he has done alright in his almost 5 years in office and has not betrayed the public trust, what is he afraid of. The recall elections is part of the democratic processes under the Constitution and LGC,” Fermin added.

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