TOO early for the elections in 2019 but not for a recall election. Under the law, no recall election shall be held within one year from the date of the official’s assumption into office (June 30, 2016) and one year before the next regular local election (May 12, 2019). A one-year window for voters to change or keep an elected official.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña at one time considered “recall” to wrest control of the Team Rama-dominated City Council.
He announced immediately after he won in May last year he’d “rescind” the contract of sale of SRP lots to a business consortium. For that, the City Council would’ve to pass an ordinance authorizing the mayor to nullify the contract, by mutual rescission or litigation.
He floated these options: “Initiative and referendum,” where voters will propose and vote on the ordinance. Or “recall,” with a new election aimed to replace hostile councilors. Or wooing enough Team Rama members to defect to BOPK. The last strategy worked and so Tomas cast aside “recall” and the other extreme measures.
Team Rama reportedly thought of “recall” in Mikes anti-Tomas strategy. But could Mike win a recall election as he won, or believed he did, in May 2016?
He’d be fighting a sitting mayor who, with government resources in hand, has been vigorously tearing down Team Rama political structures, from City Hall to the barangays.
Or are Mike’s chances better in pursuing the protest he filed against Tomas? The protest however focuses on recount of votes, which assumes Mike thinks he was cheated in the tally. But that flies in the face of another, more feasible theory: Tomas won because he wangled more votes in the last hour by allegedly “out-bidding” Mike. Which would be fraud in securing votes, not in counting them.
Effect on protest
But Mike is reportedly not keen on a “recall” as it would be deemed abandonment of his protest. In Miriam Santiago’s residential protest, in which that theory was raised, the Supreme Court said her running for senator wasn’t the only cause. It was her winning and accepting the Senate seat that prompted the SC ruling on abandonment.
Meaning, Mike could run in a recall election without his protest necessarily being abandoned. If he’d win in the new election, he’d get the same mayor’s seat. But if he’d lose in the “recall,” could he still pin his hope on the protest? A gray area there.
He may just as well wait for the protest result. Whichever way it would go, he could still run in the next regular election.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 04, 2017.
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