MANILA — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) is standing by its decision that they do not have a budget to conduct recall elections.
“Our resolution is a detailed one. We said we don’t have a line item. And even if we have a line item, we cannot realign it towards the recall since the General Appropriations Act provided for us the priorities where we can use the savings, and recall elections is not among them,” said Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes in an interview,
He was reacting to the statement of Department of Budget and Management undersecretary Luz Cantor that the poll body has about P3.6 billion budget that can be realigned to finance the recall polls.
Last month, the Commission en banc issued Resolution 9882 that ordered the suspension of all recall petitions with the poll body reasoning that it has no funds available to hold such elections.
“Yes, it is our obligation to hold recall elections as long as we have the funds available,” Brillantes said.
On the other hand, the poll body chief said it would be better if the government provides them a supplemental budget.
“For Bulacan and Puerto Princesa City, we would need about P100 million and P20 million, respectively for preparation, verification, payment of teachers, printing of ballots… why don’t they just give us a supplemental budget?” Brillantes said.
He is referring to the case of Puerto Princesa City Mayor Eduardo Hagedorn who filed the recall petition against Puerto Princesa City Mayor Lucilo Bayron and the case against Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, which was filed by Perlita Mendoza, who is the former provincial administrator of Bulacan governor Josefina dela Cruz.
Hagedorn has recently sworn to become a member of the Liberal Party (LP) while former Bulacan governor is a staunch member of the administration.
Recall is a process, wherein an elected local official can be unseated even prior to the completion of his term once he loses to another candidate that will challenge him in the elections.