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.

  • Indonesia executes foreign drug convicts, defying global anger
    Indonesia executes foreign drug convicts, defying global anger

    Indonesia on Wednesday executed seven foreign drug convicts including two Australians by firing squad despite a storm of international anger, reports said, but a Filipina was spared at the 11th hour. Authorities put the seven plus a local man to death after midnight (1700 GMT Tuesday) on a high-security prison island in central Indonesia. Eight convicts -- two Australians, one from Brazil and four from Africa, as well as the Indonesian -- were put to death on Nusakambangan Island, MetroTV and …

  • Philippine woman drug convict execution delayed
    Philippine woman drug convict execution delayed

    CILICAP, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's attorney general says the execution has been delayed of a woman Philippine convict, one of nine people who had been due to face a firing squad. …

  • Mother of Filipina spared Indonesia execution hails 'miracle': radio
    Mother of Filipina spared Indonesia execution hails 'miracle': radio

    The mother of a Filipina drug convict reprieved at the 11th hour after facing execution in Indonesia told Philippine radio Wednesday: "Miracles do come true". Mary Jane Veloso was spared after someone suspected of recruiting her and tricking her into carrying drugs to Indonesia turned herself in to authorities in the Philippines, MetroTV and the Jakarta Post reported in Indonesia. "We are relieved that the execution of Mary Jane Veloso was not carried out tonight," said spokesman Charles …

  • Indonesia's attorney general says female Philippines drug convict spared from execution

    CILACAP, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesia's attorney general says female Philippines drug convict spared from execution. …

  • Indonesia delays execution of Filipina drug convict
    Indonesia delays execution of Filipina drug convict

    The execution of a Filipina drug convict by an Indonesian firing squad was delayed at the last minute after one of her recruiters surrendered to police in the Philippines, the attorney general's spokesman said on Wednesday. "The execution of Mary Jane (Veloso) has been postponed because there was a request from the Philippine president related to a perpetrator suspected of human trafficking who surrendered herself in the Philippines," said Tony Spontana, spokesman for the attorney general. …

  • Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather
    Pacquiao sees fist of God delivering win over Mayweather

    Filipino boxing hero Manny Pacquiao is confident he can beat American arch-rival Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas on Saturday with the power of God, after abandoning a life he said was packed with sin condemning him to hell. Pacquiao is in top form both in mind and spirit after he traded his boozing, gambling and womanising ways for a devout life of prayer, his spiritual adviser, Jeric Soriano, told AFP in a recent Manila interview. Except the world got to him," Soriano said of Pacquiao's …

  • Mary Jane, family say last goodbyes
    Mary Jane, family say last goodbyes

    Filipino death convict Mary Jane Veloso and her family went to mass yesterday morning, had lunch and bade each other tearful goodbyes. Veloso admonished her family not to do anything that would damage relations between the Philippines and Indonesia, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA). They were her family in the past five years,” the Philippine embassy in Indonesia said. Her family, while they hoped for a miracle, seemed to be resigned to her fate. …

  • Heat index to reach 40ºC this week
    Heat index to reach 40ºC this week

    Take precautions against heat cramps and exhaustion as the heat index is expected to reach above 40 degrees Celsius later this week, the state weather bureau advised people in Metro Manila and in Laoag and Tuguegarao cities in Northern Luzon yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the heat index is expected to hit 40.2 degrees Celsius in Metro Manila and 40.7 degrees and 40.2 degrees in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte and Tuguegarao …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options