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Puerto mayor faces Comelec sanctions

THE Commission on Elections is now discussing the possible sanctions against Puerto Princesa Mayor Lucilo Bayron for deliberately snatching and tearing up a Comelec document during a recall petition against him, an official said Tuesday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said Bayron would not easily get away with what he did during the validation of the signatures in the recall petition filed against him that was being conducted by the Office of the Election Officer.

“The important question here is why did he feel empowered to do that?” Jimenez told reporters.

“Why did he feel he could take an official document and tear it up? That’s more crucial than anything. What we will do about it is something that the en banc has to decide.”

A recall petition is initiated by voters, and if it’s  approved, a recall election follows in which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended.

The recall petition against Bayron was initiated by Alroben Goh, a former information officer of Puerto Princesa and an ally of former Mayor Edward Hagedorn.

Jimenez was reacting to Bayron’s actions on Monday when the mayor stormed into the city coliseum where the recall procedures against him were ongoing.

In a video posted on YouTube, Bayron was seen snatching a Comelec document and then tearing it up in the middle of the proceedings.

Jimenez said he did not understand why Bayron did what he did considering that would not change the Comelec’s recall decision against him.

“The document is just a representation of what happened. Why tear it up?” Jimenez said.

“We can just produce another one as long as we don’t change anything in the content. It doesn’t seem to have accomplished anything. It certainly does not stop whatever that order was saying should be done.”

Jimenez said that the findings of the recall had now been submitted to the Comelec’s Office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations or ODEDO.

The ODEDO will be the one making a recommendation to the Comelec en banc before they release the final decision.

Jimenez also refused to discuss further the content of the report submitted to the ODEDO as the department had yet to release a final recommendation to the en banc.

“I cannot go into the details of the actual findings, but we are certainly getting very close to the elections,” Jimenez said.

Under the recall guidelines, the verification of the signatures will be followed by the announcement by the Comelec en banc of the acceptance of the candidates to the position, with Bayron automatically a candidate, and the setting of the date of the recall elections.

               

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