MAYORS RALLY BEHIND TAGUIG'S TINGA
Pasay City, September 5, 2002 (STAR) By Nikko Dizon - Taking up the cudgels for one of its embattled members, the Metro Manila Mayors’ League urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday to strictly scrutinize and assess the pending petition for a recall election in Taguig.
League spokesman, Pasay City Mayor Wenceslao "Peewee" Trinidad, said Congress should also review the provisions on recall elections "very closely."
"A recall election is highly divisive for a town or city. Walang iniintindi diyan kundi pulitika," said Trinidad, who himself was the subject of a recall election two years ago.
The league issued the appeal immediately after a meeting at the Quezon City Hall last Tuesday. Trinidad said Taguig Mayor Sigfrido "Freddie" Tinga was present at the meeting but left early.
Tinga is facing the possibility of being ousted from office after 84 members of the Preparatory Recall Assembly (PRA) signed a resolution last Sunday calling for a recall election.
The PRA is composed of the 162 elected officials of the town’s 18 barangays.
The moves for a recall election were openly endorsed and spearheaded by Tinga’s political foe, Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano.
The lawmaker was present during the PRA held at the entrance of the Sea Breeze Subdivision in Barangay Hagonoy.
At least 200 supporters of Tinga blocked the road leading to the IMP Sea Breeze Resort, where the PRA was supposed to be held.
The barricade prevented the PRA members from entering the venue and forced them to hold the assembly at the subdivision’s entrance.
The PRA members, in the resolution, charged Tinga of nepotism, destruction of infrastructure projects, and wasteful and illegal use of public funds, among others.
Cayetano earlier accused Tinga of leading Taguig to "financial ruin and under-development."
Trinidad said if there are corruption charges against a local chief executive, then a case should be filed before the Office of the Ombudsman.
"There are venues for that," the Pasay mayor said.
He said a recall election was "an exercise in futility" because more often than not, incumbent officials against whom the petition is lodged, still ultimately wins.
Trinidad also said a recall election only paves an "avenue for corruption."
A statement from the Pasay City government noted that "there have been reports that some members of the PRA have in the past been given monetary favors to support certain politicians."
Caloocan City Mayor Reynaldo Malonzo was challenged in a recall election in 1996 by political foe, Macario "Boy" Asistio. Malonzo won.
Last Tuesday, Taguig’s barangay council president, Henry Dueñas, challenged the validity of the PRA.
In a two-page letter to Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., Dueñas claimed that 83 Taguig barangays and Sangguninag Kabataang (SK) officials have signed a manifesto rejecting the recall move.
Dueñas, a staunch supporter of Tinga, accused Cayetano of initiating and financing the recall move.
The PRA resolution signed last Sunday has yet to be submitted to the Comelec for validation of the members’ signatures. In a radio interview last Monday, Abalos himself indirectly discouraged the holding of recall elections, saying these were expensive and exhaustive.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
2002 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS
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