SC greenlights poll protest vs Lapu-Lapu mayor-A A +A
Thursday, December 12, 2013
MANILA (Updated) -- The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to tackle the bid to unseat Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for alleged irregularities during the May 13 polls.
The SC said the Comelec First Division did not commit grave abuse of discretion when it dismissed Radaza’s urgent motion to suspend preliminary conference and determine the cause of action of the election protest filed by losing candidate Efrain Pelaez Jr.
Lawyer Carlos Cavada, Radaza’s counsel, declined to comment, saying he has yet to receive a copy of the SC decision.
In the dark
“We haven’t read the decision yet. We still don’t know the reasons of the SC,” he told Sun.Star Cebu in a phone interview.
“We won’t know what course of action to take unless we read the decision,” he added.
Pelaez also asked the Comelec to nullify the proclamation of Radaza’s entire slate and election returns in some barangays and secure the poll materials and records.
Radaza received 62,874 votes while Pelaez got 53,596 votes, or a winning margin of over 9,200.
Pelaez said the mayor’s camp used City Government funds, terrorism and intimidation to win another term.
Election violations were allegedly committed in 64 clustered precincts, covering Barangays Basak, Mactan, Punta Engaño, Baring, Cawhagan, Caubian, Caw-oy, Pangan-an, Sabang, Sta. Rosa, San Vicente, Talima, Tingo and Tungasan.
He wondered why the total of voters for mayor reached 119,000, or 10,000 more than the voters for congressman and vice mayor.
“It’s impossible that 10,000 people would only vote for mayor, and worse, in favor of Paz Radaza, without voting for other candidates,” Pelaez said in a press briefing on May 23.
The poll body found the protest sufficient in form and substance.
Radaza, a former ally of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, transferred to the ruling Liberal Party (LP) last September. Vice Mayor Marcial Ycong and the 14 members of the City Council were also sworn in as LP members.
Pelaez, head of the LP Lapu-Lapu chapter, vowed to protest Radaza’s entry to the party. (Sunnex/With a report from RSB of Sun.Star Cebu)