Mayor says ex-election officer being sabotaged

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012


CAGAYAN de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano saw the case filed against former City Commission on Elections (Comelec) officer Gina Luna Zayas-Sabio as “sabotage” against her.

The case was filed against Sabio for alleged negligence in connection with the dumping of election documents at the city’s dumpsite and at a junkshop on May 11, 2010.

But Emano said he knew who was responsible in throwing the election paraphernalia but could not reveal the name. He said he has yet to gather evidence against the “suspect”.

“She was just being sabotaged and I think I know the person who threw the documents. I already told her (Sabio) who it was but she hadn’t taken any action on this. It’s the plan of the opposition, not ours,” Emano said during his Sunday radio program.

He urged Sabio to go “wider and deeper” and find out the name of the person responsible in throwing the election paraphernalia at the garbage site.

He, meanwhile, slammed the statement of a lawyer that Sabio can turn state witness of the fraud in the May 10, 2010 elections, which he allegedly orchestrated.

The mayor said Sabio might be in a dilemma if she will “testify lies” against him.

“In the first place, I haven’t done any cheatings. If I was seated in power through cheating, I will gladly give the position to them,” Emano said.

He claimed he is not worried because this is a case against Sabio and has nothing to do with him.

Sabio was the city election officer when the throwing of election paraphernalia happened barely two years ago.

The other week, Comelec en banc recommended for the filing of criminal case against Sabio for violation of Section 262 and Sections 18, 219 and 230 in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code.

Sections 18, 219 and 230 of the Omnibus Election Code provide for the preservation of ballot boxes, their keys and disposition of their contents and the safekeeping of transmitted election returns.

In a 21-page resolution dated January 24, 2012, the Comelec en banc stated that Sabio’s admission that the accountable forms such as rejected ballots, election returns, PIN code, eye buttons, main memory cards, paper seals, non-accountable forms such as Statistical Reports, Initialization Report, EDVL, Audit Lot Report, Minutes of Testing and Sealing; and election paraphernalia such as key to the ballot box that were found at Ramirez Junkshop is a prima facie evidence to establish that she violated Section 261 and Sections 18, 219 and 230 in relation to Section 262 of the Omnibus Election Code.

“We could not by stretch of imagination dismiss such grievous incident as negligible or inconsequential. There exists a strong suspicion that she actually committed the election offense which she is charged,” the resolution stated.

After the incident, Sabio was transferred to the provincial Comelec and later to Valencia City in Bukidnon. She has yet to issue her statement on the case.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on February 14, 2012.

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