Comelec yet to decide on Olanolan's poll protest

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Friday, January 24, 2014


THE central office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is yet to decide whether the election protest of Barangay 76-A re-electionist chair Robert Olanolan should be dismissed after winning village chief Rolando Trajera filed a petition for certiorari against the presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) Branch 2.

Legal counsel for the complainant Alexis Lumbatan, in a phone interview with Sun.Star Davao, said the petition for certiorari came after MTCC Branch 2 Judge Marie Estrellita Tolentino-Rojas did not adhere to the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by Comelec-Manila barring Rojas to make decisions on the election protest.

Lumbatan said Rojas continued with the recount and revision of ballots since she did not receive the TRO prior to the recount.

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"Nahuman ang recount and revision I think December 10 pero nadawat sa MTCC Branch 2 ang TRO I think December 19. So by that, wala gyud na-serve ang TRO, (The recount and revision was done I think on December 10 but MTCC Branch 2 received the TRO I think on December 19. So by that, the TRO was not served.)" Lumbatan said. READ:Poll bet files protest, seeks recount

But prior to the recount and revision, Trajera filed a motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that they did not cite the clustered precincts that Olanolan was accusing of election fraud.

Lumbatan, however, maintained that they have specified the clustered precincts and even precinct numbers being questioned thus, Rojas dismissed the defendant's motion.

This prompted the defendants to file a petition for certiorari before Comelec-Manila which urged the latter to issue a TRO.

The parties had a hearing at the Comelec office in Manila on Wednesday.

Olanolan and Lumbatan were given five days to submit his memorandum and comment on the petition for certiorari and they are expected to submit them on Monday.

"This move may be favorable for the defendants since if the petition for certiorari is granted, the case will be dismissed. But if it is denied, MTCC Branch 2 could continue with the proceedings," Lumbatan said.

He added that the result of the entire recount and revision is in favor of Olanolan as he has an estimated lead of 142 votes over Trajera.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on January 25, 2014.

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