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De Lima proposes voluntary resignation of elected official under recall poll

Detained Senator Leila de Lima has filed a bill seeking to allow the voluntary resignation of an elected official who is being petitioned for recall election.

Senate Bill No. 1676 seeks to amend Section 73 of Republic Act No. 7160, also known as the 1991 Local Government Code (LGC), which prohibits the voluntary resignation of an elected official while the recall process is still in progress.

“Given the fact that the government would have to shoulder the expenses of the recall elections and in light of the fiscal crisis that our country is experiencing, it would be more practical to allow the official to voluntarily resign in order to avoid incurring additional expenses necessarily connected with the recall process,” De Lima said in a statement.

The senator said under that her proposed measure, an official subject for recall proceedings may voluntarily resign and will be automatically succeeded based on the rule of succession provided for in Sections 44 and 45 of the LGC.

Section 69 of LGC provides for recall, a mode of removal of local elective officials “for loss of confidence” that may be exercised by registered voters of a local government unit, the senator said.

She pointed out that while the process of recall is “a fundamental right of the people in a representative democracy,” the power of recall still largely depends on the availability of funds of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“If we can have the alternative – which is the voluntary resignation of an elected official, whose recall is sought – then the Comelec will not anymore have to carry the burden of financing a recall process,” De Lima said.

De Lima, who is presently detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for drug-related charges, is the chairwoman of the Senate Electoral Reforms and People's Participation Committee. —Anna Felicia Bajo/ALG, GMA News