Guardo ‘successful’ in poll protest

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Friday, May 16, 2014


BARANGAY Sambag 1, Cebu City has a new captain.

Judge Francis Rainer Navarrete yesterday declared Maria Ailien Guardo the “truly elected punong barangay.”

Ailien garnered 3,052 votes, or a 73-vote lead, over incumbent Sambag 1 Barangay Captain Lemar Alcover’s 2,979 during the recount.

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“In an election protest, the winner shall be the candidate who obtained the plurality of the valid votes cast,” read Navarrete’s 48-page decision.

Ailien and her husband Jerry, former Sambag 1 barangay captain, rejoiced when the decision was handed down.

The couple’s lawyer, Delon Richel Urot, said Lemar’s camp will likely appeal the ruling.

If that happens, Urot said they will file a motion for execution (of the decision), while the court tackles the appeal.

Lemar was declared winner by just 119 votes. Lemar is the son of Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy Party-list Rep. Pastor “Jun” Alcover.

Residency requirement

Ailien filed an election protest and asked the court to order the recount of ballots in all 24 polling precincts.

In her poll protest, Ailien said votes counted for Lemar should be considered stray votes since Lemar “failed to comply with the residency requirements.”

She said Lemar filed a certificate of candidacy for mayor of Tabogon, Cebu during the local elections last May.

“Being a candidate for an elective post in another place in Cebu Province and not Cebu City means that protestee (Lemar) is not a resident of Sambag 1 at the time he filed his certificate of candidacy for punong barangay,” she said.

She also said Lemar employed “widespread chaos, harassment, threats and intimidation” among her supporters, leaders and coordinators during the election.

Allegations

Due to the alleged threats and coercion by his supporters, Ailien said hundreds of their political allies were forced to go home without voting.

She also accused her rival of resorting to vote-buying “in all contested precincts” in the barangay.

She said valid ballots were not filled up by registered voters, but by supporters and leaders of Lemar.

“In the same vein, the scheme of pre-filled-up ballots was rampant and extensively implemented on election day in Barangay Sambag I,” she said.

In the decision, Navarrete, the Municipal Trial Court in Cities Branch 2 assisting presiding judge, ordered Lemar’s proclamation as winner annulled. 

The judge also ordered the return of the ballot boxes to the City Treasurer’s Office once his decision becomes final and executory.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 17, 2014.

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