Democratic experience, here and abroad, shows that the right of recall is a double-edged sword. Rightly used, it can promote the greater good. Wrongly used, it can result in greater evil. (Chief Justice Reynato Puno)
The recall bid against Gov. Ed Panlilio is carried by PDI today. I’m sure this issue will be the talk of the town in the days to come.
Here are the FAQs on recall for ease of understanding and reference.
What is a recall in the context of Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160)?
A recall is a power granted to the electorate to remove an elected official for loss of confidence.
What does loss of confidence mean?
Loss of confidence is the formal withdrawal by an electorate of their trust in a person's ability to discharge his office previously bestowed on him by the same electorate.
Whether or not the electorate has lost confidence in an incumbent is a political question. It belongs to the realm of politics where only the people are the judge. (Evardone vs. COMELEC et. al., GR No. 94010, 2 December 1991)
What is the purpose of recall?
While recall was intended to be an effective and speedy remedy to remove an official who is not giving satisfaction to the electorate regardless of whether or not he is discharging his full duty to the best of his ability and as his conscience dictates, it is a power granted to the people who, in concert, desire to change their leaders for reasons only they, as a collective, can justify. In other words, recall must be pursued by the people, not just by one disgruntled loser in the elections or a small percentage of disenchanted electors. Otherwise, its purpose as a direct remedy of the people shall be defeated by the ill motives of a few among them whose selfish resort to recall would destabilize the community and seriously disrupt the running of government. (Angobung v. COMELEC, 269 SCRA 245 )
The bottomline is that our law intends recall as a mechanism of good government. It can never fulfill that intent if we allow its use to foment too much politics. (Claudio vs. COMELEC et. al, G.R. No. 140560, 4 May 2000)
How shall the recall of a governor be commenced?
The recall of a governor shall be commenced by a petition of a registered voter in the province concerned and supported by at least 10% of registered voters, provided, however, that in no case shall the required petitioners be less than 45,000. (Section 1, RA 9244)
In the case of Pampanga, the required petitioners must be at least 98,703 which represent 10% of the total number of registered voters in Pampanga as of 20 April 2007 based on the records of COMELEC (www.comelec.gov.ph).
In other words, Guaio et. al. may require at most 98,703,000 pesos (if the signature of a petitioner is priced at 1,000 pesos per person) just to commence the recall of Among Ed. This excludes the hundreds of millions of pesos to be used to buy votes during the recall election itself.
What happens next after the commencement of a recall?
The process of recall shall be effected in accordance with the following procedures:
1. A written petition for recall duly signed by the representatives of the petitioners shall be filed in the COMELEC provincial office.
2. If the petition is found to be sufficient in form, the Comelec shall form the issuance of the certification, provide the official sought to be recalled a copy of the petition, cause its publication in a national newspaper of general circulation and a newspaper of general circulation in the locality.
3. The Comelec shall proceed independently with the verification and authentication of the signatures of the petitioners and registered voters contained therein. The filing of any challenge or protest shall be allowed which shall be ruled upon with finality within 15 days from the date of filing of such protest or challenge.
4. The Comelec shall announce the acceptance of candidates to the position and thereafter prepare the list of candidates which shall include the name of the official sought to be recalled.
5. The Comelec shall set the date of the recall election, which shall not be later than 45 days upon the completion of the procedure outlined above. The official sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate to the position to be voted upon.
6. The official sought to be recalled may file petition for certiorari and prohibition before the Supreme Court seeking the nullification of the resolution of the COMELEC giving due course to the petition for the recall.
What are the limitations of a recall?
1. Any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only once during his term of office for loss of confidence. (para. a, Section 74, RA 7160)
2. No recall shall take place within 1 year from the date of the official's assumption to office or 1 year immediately preceding a regular local election. (para. b, Section 74, RA 7160)
If no recall shall take place within 1 year from the date of the official's assumption to office or 1 year immediately preceding a regular local election, does it mean that Among Ed cannot be recalled until after 30 June 2008?
In the case of Claudio vs. COMELEC et.al., supra, the Supreme Court held that the term "recall" refers to the recall election and not to initiation of recall proceeding. The initiation of recall "merely sets the stage for the official concerned before the tribunal of the people so he can justify why he should be allowed to continue in office." Hence, a recall election for governor in Pampanga cannot be held until after 30 June 2008. However, the initiation of recall proceedings (commencement, filing of petition with the COMELEC and etc.) is not prohibited within the one-year period.
In other words, what is forbidden are : (1) the holding of recall election within one year from the date the official assumed office, and (2) holding of a recall election within one year immediately preceding a regular local election. As succinctly stated in Paras vs. COMELEC (264 SCRA 48, 54 ), para. (b)construed together with para. (a) of Section 74, RA 7160 "merely designate the period when such elective local official may be subject to recall election, that is, during the second year of office."
When shall a recall take effect?
The recall of an elective local official shall be effective only upon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast during the election on recall. Should the official sought to be recalled receive the highest number of votes, confidence in him is thereby affirmed, and he shall continue in office.(Section 72, RA 7160)