Recount of 1st batch of ballots has Wagas winning against Quiño-A A +A
Friday, March 22, 2013
FORMER Compostela Mayor Ritchie Wagas won against incumbent Mayor Joel Quiño in the revision (or recounting) of the first box of ballots cast in the 2010 elections.
The recount was ordered by Judge Estela Alma Singco of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 55 in Mandaue City.
The recounting of one ballot box from Cluster Precinct 1 of Barangay Poblacion, Compostela showed Wagas getting 288 votes against Quiño’s 214. There were 21 stray ballots and eight rejected ballots.
Tranni Ferrer, RTC Branch 55 Clerk of Court who chaired the election committee, also found out that based on the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), Quiño got 468 against Wagas’ 289.
Wagas told the media the initial result of the recounting is already a victory on their part because they were able to prove that the result of the election based on PCOS “does not reflect the sentiment of the people.”
“The ballots are the mother documents which reflect the will of the people. The objective of my protest is to satisfy the issue of truth,” Wagas said.
Wagas filed a petition in court after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) refused to grant his prayer for manual recounting.
“I understand that the Comelec will not grant my request because they have to defend itself against the accusation that PCOS can be tampered with. So, we go to Court, which ordered the recounting”, Wagas said.
Wagas said that from the beginning, the doubts whether the Election Returns (ERs) were genuine came up when out of the 34 clustered precincts, only two were transmitted.
He said that of the 32 remaining precincts, only 20 ERs appeared in the PCOS machines.
The second issue is that the serial numbers of PCOS machines did not tally with the electronic ERS generated from PCOS.
Wagas said he is not interested on whether he can assume as mayor before the May 13 elections.
Atty. Guiller Ceniza, counsel of Quiño, said he will file a motion to annul the result of the recounting yesterday because it was not in accordance with Section 6 of Rule 10, or the Rules and Procedure of the 2010 elections.
Ceniza said that in the physical recounting, there were only 531 ballots recounted when it was stated in the election returns that there were 788 who actually voted.
“So where are the other ballots? Why are the recounted ballots not authenticated? In other words, the integrity of the ballots counted actually has been compromised,” Ceniza said.
Ferrer said they started the recounting at 9:45 a.m. and ended at 11:45 a.m. yesterday. They will resume the recounting at 1:00 p.m. today.
Ferrer said that despite the objections of Ceniza, the election committee has no authority to rule.
“The election committee is not here to appreciate the ballots but to count. So, it’s too early to tell who is the winner,” Ferrer said.
She said that as ordered by the court, the counting must be done not later than April 15, the committee report must be submitted not later than April 24, and the decision on who is the winner will be on April 30.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 22, 2013.