Lawmaker seeks abolition of recall provision of the local government code

A BILL repealing the controversial recall provision of the Local Government Code has been filed at the House of Representatives.

Rep. Victorino Dennis Socrates (2nd District, Palawan), author of House Bill 6222, said the Commission on Election (Comelec) is having a hard time addressing many recall proceedings due to time constraints.

Socrates said local officials are elected only to a term of three years, and the time-frame for holding recall elections actually consists of less than one year – from July 1 to the second Monday of May of the officials’ second year.

“This time frame has proven too short for Comelec, especially in the event that petitions for recall are filed in a given term, which is almost going to be the case, and considering that the Comelec also has to prepare for the conduct of the ensuing regular elections,” Socrates said.

Socrates cited Comelec Resolution No. 9374 issued on March 7, 2012 discontinuing action on all the 38 petitions for recall all over the country which were then pending, because of lack of time and material

The bill seeks to repeal Sections 69 to 75, Chapter 5, Title II, Book 1 of Republic Act 7160, as amended.

Socrates said the recall mechanism under the law is essentially by way of a petition signed by a percentage of the voting population ranging from 10% up to 25% depending on the total number, and subject to
verification by the Comelec.

Socrates said upon compliance with the formal procedural and substantive initiatory requirements, Comelec is mandated to conduct the recall-election, which can only be held once in the term of the elective local official.

Socrates said the recall could be held only within the period starting one year after his assumption of office up to and excluding the beginning of the one year immediately preceding the next regular local election.

Socrates said the mechanism of recall has been proven to be ineffective – not the least because of the extreme brevity of the term of office of local elective officials and the narrowness of the time-frame available for recall.

“Under the circumstance, to leave the subject provisions of RA 7160, as amended, in place, would be to allow a detraction from the stability, predictability, and objectivity of legally demandable rights, and to open the floodgates to discriminatory enforcement or at least allow the mechanism of recall to be contingent on the subjective disposition of the Comelec Commissioners, whoever they may be at that moment,” Socrates said.

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