Primer on the Recall Process

You may have heard about the recent gathering of signatures to initiate the recall process against Pampanga Governor Eddie “Ed” Panlilio. Let’s discuss the concept and process of recall.

Who may exercise the power of recall? The power of recall for loss of confidence shall be exercised by the registered voters of a local government unit (LGU) to which the local elective official subject to such recall belongs.

What are the legal provisions governing the process of recall? Section 3, Article X of the Constitution provides that “Congress shall enact a local government code which shall provide for a more responsive and accountable local government structure instituted through a system of decentralization with effective mechanisms of recall, initiative, and referendum xxx.” This is fleshed out in Republic Act No. 7160, also known as the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended by R.A. 9244.

Why is there a need to wait for 1 year after an election? One of the limitations under the law is that “no recall shall take place within one (1) year from the date of the official’s assumption to office or one (1) year immediately preceding a regular local election.”

Can the same elective official be the subject of successive recall elections? Any elective local official may be the subject of a recall election only once during his term of office for loss of confidence.

Can the local official subject of recall resign? The elective local official sought to be recalled shall not be allowed to resign while the recall process is in progress.

How is the recall process initiated? The recall of any elective provincial, city, municipal or barangay official shall be commenced by a petition of a registered voter in the LGU concerned and supported by the registered voters in the LGU concerned during the election in which the local official sought to be recalled was elected. The preparatory recall assembly was already removed as a means of initiating the recall process.

What are the required percentage of registered voters who must sign the petition?

1. At least 25% in the case of LGUs with a voting population of not more than 20,000.

2. At least 20% in the case of LGUs with a voting population of at least 20,000 but not more than 75,000, provided that in no case shall the required petitioners be less than 5,000.

3. At least 15% in the case of LGUs with a voting population of at least 75,000 but not more than300,000, provided that in no case shall the required number of petitioners be less than 15,000.

4. At least 10% in the case of LGUs with a voting population of over 300,000, provided that in no case shall the required petitioners be less than 45,000.

What are the required contents of the petition for recall? The recall petition must contain the following:

a. The names and addresses of the petitioners written in legible form and their signatures.

b. The barangay, city or municipality, local legislative district and the province to which the petitioners belong.

c. The name of the official sought to be recalled.

d. A brief narration of the reasons and justifications therefore.

What is the procedure in the recall process? The procedure in the process of recall:

1. A written petition for recall duly signed by the representatives of the petitioners before the election registrar or his representative, shall be filed with the COMELEC through its office in the LGU concerned.

2. The COMELEC shall, within 15 days from the filing of the petition, certify to the sufficiency of the required number of signatures. Failure to obtain the required number of signatures automatically nullifies the petition.

3. If the petition is found to be sufficient in form, the COMELEC or its duly authorized representative shall, within 3 days form the issuance of the certification, provide the official sought to be recalled a copy of the petition, cause its publication a national newspaper of general circulation and a newspaper of general circulation in the locality, once a week for 3 consecutive weeks at the expense of the petitioners and at the same time post copies thereof in public and conspicuous places for a period of not less than 10 days nor more than 20 days, for the purpose of allowing interested parties to examine and verify the validity of the petition and the authenticity of the signatures contained therein.

4. The COMELEC or its duly authorized representatives shall, upon issuance of certification, proceed independently with the verification and authentication of the signatures of the petitioners and registered voters contained therein. Representatives of the petitioners and the official sought to be recalled shall be duly notified and shall have the right to participate therein as mere observers. The filing of any challenge or protest shall be allowed within the period provided in the immediately preceding paragraph and shall be ruled upon with finality within 15 days from the date of filing of such protest or challenge;

5. Upon the lapse of the aforesaid period, the COMELEC or its duly authorized representative shall announce the acceptance of candidates to the positive and thereafter prepare the list of candidates which shall include the name of the official sought to be recalled. The officials sought to be recalled shall automatically be considered as duly registered candidate or candidates to the pertinent positions and, like other candidates, shall be entitled to be voted upon.

When is the recall effective? The recall of an elective local official shall be effective only upon the election and proclamation of a successor in the person of the candidate receiving the highest number of votes cast during the election on recall. Should the official sought to be recalled receive the highest number of votes, confidence in him is thereby affirmed, and he shall continue in office.

Citations and more discussions at the Recall entry in the Legal Wiki of

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