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Cabadbaran mayor faces election recall

Disgruntled residents gathered outside the local Comelec office asking the poll body to hold a recall election against Cabadbaran Mayor Katrina Mortola. Ben Serrano

The battle for Cabadbaran’s top post is apparently far from over as supporters of defeated mayoral bet Judy Amante filed on Monday morning (August 7) a petition calling for a recall election in the city citing “loss of trust and confidence” in incumbent Mayor Katrina Mortola.

Armed with binders containing the supposed signatures of 11,684 disgruntled Cabadbaran residents, Amante’s supporters, led by Agusan del Norte Gov. Angel Amante-Matba, former Mayor Dale Corvera and Vice Mayor Rey Jamboy trooped to the local Commission on Elections (Comelec) office to file the recall petition against Mortola, who is now serving her fresh term as local chief executive.

Amante’s bid to unseat Mortola through a recall election is unprecedented in local politics, as this will be the first time that a city mayor faces recall challenge by the electorate.

Cabadbaran election officer Atty. Mark Sorilla said the holding of the recall election would depend on the outcome of the poll body’s authentication and verification of the signatures in the petition against Mortola.

Sorilla said Cabadbaran, the capital city of Agusan del Norte, had in last year’s elections 43,163 registered voters, which meant that Amante’s camp only needed at least 8,633 verified signatures for the Comelec to push through with the recall.

“We were actually given three days as required by law to verify the 11,684 signatories. Actually, what is needed is only 8,633 registered voters out of total 43,163 registered voters based on May 2016 election count. They actually exceeded by 2,000 voters but that is all subject for verification,” Sorilla said.

Governor Amante-Matba said their petition stemmed from Mortola’s supposed inability to lead that caused divisiveness among Cabadbaranons and poor governance.

“By using legal, enabling laws, I hope you Cabadbaranons will serve an inspiration to other voters in the province and in the country as a whole that whenever constituents find elected officials no longer relevant, a disservice instead of good public service will initiate this petition for recall mechanism,” she told a crowd of supporters and allies.

“This is democracy working and active in the minds of our people. You must demand what is due to you from the government but do also your fair share and responsibility in nation-building,” the governor said.

Lawyer Homer Mabale, counsel of the petitioners, said he was optimistic the recall election will push through by October.

“The reason behind filing of recall were all true and valid, the people of Cabadbaran can attest to it. We did counter checking and verification in our own to make sure the 11,000 plus voters who signed the petition are verified and authenticated. I think all systems go for the recall election , I am very positive. But still, the Comelec is expected to do their job as provided by law,” Mabale told Caraga News Courier. By Ben Serrano and CLC

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