PASACAO, Camarines Sur (July 5, 2011) – A councilor launches a campaign to gather enough signatures to be able to petition the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to schedule a recall election aimed at ousting the incumbent mayor of this town.
Under the Philippine law, within the period after an election and one year before the next scheduled election, 25 percent of registered voters in a locality can petition the COMELEC to schedule a recall election that may remove an elected local government official.
Councilor Niño Tayco the initiator of the signature campaign in 19 barangays of this municipality likes this mechanism applied to remove incumbent Mayor Asuncion Villamante Arceño.
But some barangay officials and other councilors claim that Tayco's signature campaign has been tainted by allegations of misrepresentations.
A barangay councilor of Tilnac, Pasacao,Elizabeth C. Olaño, bared that she read her name in a propaganda tabloid titled “Pasacao Recall Primer” reportedly circulated by leaders of Tayco, claiming she was among village officials endorsing the relief of Arceño through a recall election.
As a reaction, Olaño and over 50 other village constituents have issued affidavits belying their support of Tayco's signature campaign.
Over 10,000 copies of the “Recall Primer” have reportedly been distributed all over the town.
Local resident, Gemma E. Taladro, who also executed an affidavit said that she was invited to a meeting of the beneficiaries of the government's 4Ps program where the attendees were asked to sign a “petitioner’s sheet” supposedly for a COMELEC Survey on a recall election on August this year. But the petition was falsely presented as supporting Mayor Arceño, she said.
Reportedly, Tayco’s signature campaign is gaining some success because huge amount of cash is being poured into it. Allegedly, signatories to the mayor's recall petition are given from 100 to 500 pesos each, depending on their influence in the community, and a members of large clan is given 1,000 pesos.
Source also said that the pay-offs are done during the weekends and leaders of the signature campaign are promised 50,000 pesos incentive if they can get the signatures of at least 50 percent of the registered voters in their respective turfs.
Mayor Arceño confirmed that Councilor Tayco who is reportedly wanting to be mayor has launched a recall campaign against her. A certain “Rennie” Magtuto, a resort owner and a big local businessman is footing the bill for the signature campaign expenses, she said.
Arceño claimed that based on the petition sheets being circulated the reason put forward for her recall is a mere “loss of confidence, without specifying the basis."