Supporters of suspended Narra town mayor Gerandy Danao have filed a petition to recall vice mayor and presently acting mayor Crispin Lumba Jr. and seven members of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Citing “loss of confidence”, the group submitted to the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Tuesday a total of 28,495 signatures to the petition. According to the election process, they will have to await the poll body’s decision on its signature verification process before a special election can be held not later than one year before the regular elections in 2022.
According to the current election law, a recall requires the verified signatures of at least 25 percent or 9,181 signatures of the town’s voting population of 36,727 registered voters (based on the 2019 elections).
The petition comes on the heels of Danao’s 20 months suspension that began in September after he was penalized by the Provincial Board for committing administrative violations of his permit-granting powers. The complaints were filed by Lumba and the majority of the Narra SB members.
Danao has appealed the ruling in Malacanang
Guillermo Aficial, president of Sulong sa Pagbabago Bangon Narra, told Palawan News that they have gathered a total of 28,495 signatures petitioning for a recall election against Lumba and seven of the town’s SB members.
“Isa lang naman ang dahilan, that is the loss of confidence. Nawalan na ng tiwala ang aming mga kababayan dito sa kanila,” said Aficial in an interview Tuesday.
Aficial cited instances of unmet social welfare needs by those severely affected by the pandemic that prompted Danao supporters to sign the petition.
“Noong wala na si Mayor Danao, doon na nakita ang pagkakaiba. Noong may pandemiya, inaakyat niya [Danao] ang mga kabundukan. Inaabot niya ang ayuda sa mga kababayan niya. Walang halong politikal ang kanyang ginagawa, basta siya trabaho lang. Hindi katulad ngayon, lumalabas na self-serving.” he added.
Aficial clarified that the recall has not yet been approved by the COMELEC, since it lacks some supporting documents.
Sought for his reaction, Lumba said he “respects” the decision of the petitioners and acknowledges it to be their right.
“Huwag na muna sana nating pag-usapan, pero nirerespeto naman natin ang ginawa nila dahil constitutional right naman nila ‘yon,” Lumba said. (with reports from Ruil Alabi, Ruth Rodriguez, and Patricia Laririt)