The Inbox

No plebiscite in Cabanatuan on Jan. 4

By Mikhail Flores, VERA Files

Cabanatuan City would have to wait until after the May 13 elections to get residents to vote on a proposal to turn it from a component city of Nueva Ecija province into a highly urbanized city (HUC).

The Commission on Elections on Tuesday again denied the city’s motion for reconsideration to schedule the plebiscite on Jan. 4.

Earlier, it postponed the plebiscite in Cabanatuan City from Dec. 1 to a date after the May 2013 elections—as it did with all other scheduled plebiscites—to focus on the midterm elections.

Comelec Chairman Sixto Brilliantes Jr. also said the city’s second motion is a “prohibited pleading,” just like the first one it filed in late November.

The poll body’s order postponing the Dec. 1 plebiscite was an en banc decision that is not subject to a motion for reconsideration.

“You go up to the Supreme Court," said Brillantes.

In its en banc decision, contained in Resolution 9563  dated Nov. 27, the Comelec said it is “now in the thick of preparations” for the May 2013 elections.

The poll body also cited a petition filed by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali before the Supreme Court seeking to block the plebiscite.

Umali has said the entire province should participate in the plebiscite.  He also cited a temporary restraining order a Palayan regional trial court has issued on the holding of the plebiscite as well as the death of broadcast journalist Julius Caesar Cauzo among the reasons.

Cabanatuan first attempted to become an HUC in 1998 but failed to gather enough votes in a plebiscite.

Under the Local Government Code of 1991, an HUC must have a minimum population of 200,000 and an annual income of at least P50 million.

Registered voters of an HUC no longer elect officials of the provincial government, or the governor, vice governor and provincial board members.  The provincial government, in turn, has no administrative supervision over the city and its elected officials.

The Cabanatuan City government on Nov. 28 filed with the Comelec a motion for reconsideration, saying the Supreme Court has not acted on Umali’s petition and is now on judicial recess. It also said Cauzo’s death was an isolated incident.

The city government also argued that the Palayan court is “inferior” to the Comelec, , a constitutional body, in terms of jurisdiction.

In its second motion for reconsideration, city officials quoted Comelec Deputy Executive Director for Operations Bartolome Sinocruz as saying there was enough time to hold the plebiscite.

City Mayor Jay Vergara also led about 300 residents of Cabanatuan in a rally held in front of the Comelec Main Office to protest what they described as the poll body’s act of denying residents their right to suffrage.

The Cabanatuan City Council first passed a resolution in June 2011 requesting President Benigno Aquino III to declare the city’s conversion.  Aquino issued a proclamation more than a year later, which called for the conduct of a plebiscite.

Umali opposed the proposed conversion, declaring that the plebiscite should cover the whole of Nueva Ecija.

Comelec, however, ruled against Umali and decided that only registered voters of Cabanatuan are covered by the plebiscite.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for "true.")

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Philippines backs support for small enterprises at APEC meet

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines' top trade official on Saturday called for support for the integration of micro, small and medium enterprises in global trade, which he said would help reduce poverty and inequality in the Asia-Pacific region. …

  • US renews travel warning to Mindanao
    US renews travel warning to Mindanao

    The US State Department renewed its warning about the risks of travel to the Philippines, in particular to the Sulu archipelago, certain regions and cities of Mindanao and the southern Sulu Sea area. In an update on Wednesday of a travel warning it issued Nov. 20, 2014, the State Department said US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu archipelago due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there. …

  • Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda
    Phl gains support for APEC Action Agenda

    The Philippine initiative to put the interests of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) front and center in global and regional trade has made significant progress following the conclusion on Thursday of the 2nd APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM2) and Related Meetings in Boracay, Aklan. Called “The Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs,” the Philippine proposal calls for a host of specific, concrete and practical interventions that APEC economies can implement to provide MSMEs wider …

  • Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week
    Phl to join Bangkok meet on Rohingya crisis next week

    The Philippines will join a 15-nation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand next week to address the migration crisis involving thousands of Rohingyas who escaped persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima bared this yesterday after meeting with United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) representative to the Philippines Bernard Kerblat. In an interview, De Lima said the Philippine government has been invited to the meeting. …

  • Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon
    Magnitude 4.2 quake jolts Sorsogon

    LEGAZPI CITY—A magnitude 4.2 earthquake hit Prieto Diaz town in Sorsogon before dawn yesterday, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said. …

  • Drought-resistant rice breeds bared
    Drought-resistant rice breeds bared

    SCIENCE CITY OF MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Amid the searing heat, the Philippine Rice Research Institute central experiment station here has identified nine rice breeds which have been proven to be drought-resistant and produce high yields in temperatures as high as 38°C based on a recent study. Thelma Padolina, lead researcher of the study titled “Screening of rice-induced mutants for heat and drought tolerance,” identified the breeding lines as the Ballatinaw lines, PSB Rc72H and Azucena lines. …

  • Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning
    Phl, US assert rights, ignore China warning

    The United States military will continue air and sea patrols in international waters even after the Chinese navy repeatedly warned a US surveillance plane to leave the airspace over artificial islands China is creating in the disputed South China Sea. The Philippine government also declared it would continue activities in the region, calling on China to respect freedom of navigation and aviation. “Our position on the importance of letting freedom of navigation, freedom of aviation and …

  • MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned
    MM shutdown eyed for quake drill; 6 schools warned

    Electricity and mobile phone services would be cut throughout Metro Manila, and all private and government offices and businesses, including shopping malls, would be closed. That would be the situation on July 16 between 3 and 8 p.m. to simulate the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) has warned that an earthquake of that magnitude could occur and kill at least 33,500 people and injure at least 113,600 others following a …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options