Comelec junks Gonzales’s poll protest

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division dismissed the electoral protest filed by defeated Bacolod City vice mayoral candidate Vladimir Gonzales against incumbent Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran.

The resolution, dated September 7, 2016, stated that the instant election protest is dismissed for insufficiency in form and content in accordance with Section 9, in relation to Section 7, Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution 8804 on Comelec Rules of Procedure on Disputes in an Automated Election System.

The order was signed by Presiding Commissioner Christian Robert Lim and Commissioner Luie Tito Guia.

Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon inhibited from the case since she is from Negros Occidental.

The 10-page decision added that the protestant claimed that he was deprived of personally seeing how the appreciation, tabulation, and computation of the ballots cast in the clustered precincts took place.

Republic Act 9369, an Act Amending Republic Act 8436, affirms the authority of the Comelec to prescribe the adaptation and use of the most suitable technology of demonstrated capability taking into account the situation prevailing in the area and the funds available for the purpose to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful, credible and informed elections. The law authorized the use of an automated election system precisely for this purpose, it added.

Defeated candidates of Pamilya Magbinuligay Kita Para sa Kauswagan (MKK) led by then mayor Monico Puentevella and Gonzales filed an electoral protest, with petition for manual recount, before the Comelec.

The protestant also argued that the proclamation of the winners was made simply based on electronically-transmitted election results.

The resolution stated that the election returns transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as the basis for the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of the candidate.

Gonzalez also propounded his observations in the voter turnout and number votes who actually voted through graphs, tables and illustrations.

The resolution, however, stated that unusual and unexplained number of votes, high voter turnout, etc. are in themselves, not indicative or reflective of election fraud or irregularities.

It is only when these are caused by specific election fraud, anomalies or irregularities that the same may be constitutive of manual recount.

The observations cannot be considered as the acts required by the rules since there are valid explanation of these observations other than the dastardly alternative which protestant propounds, the resolution added.

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