Poll body finishes recount in Toledo

THE Commission on Election (Comelec) has wrapped up the electoral protest that defeated Toledo City Council candidate Risa Rafols filed against three incumbent city councilors after the May 2016 elections.

The poll body’s Electoral Contest Adjudication Department (ECAD) submitted its consolidated report and informed the Comelec Second Division on the completion of the recount on the 20 pilot protested clustered precincts.

Mayette Tapia, who is the councilors’ lawyer, said that the consolidated recount report showed that Rafols “does not have a chance at winning the instant case.”

“To date, insofar as the procedures pending before the Comelec Second Division, there is still no decision saying that protestant was indeed able to establish that she (Rafols) won in the 20 pilot protested precincts,” the lawyer said in a statement.

Rafols ran for councilor under Toledo City Mayor John Henry “Sonny” Osmeña’s Team Alagad.

Votes

Rafols ranked 12th in the final tally with 19,324 votes.

Councilor Arlene Espinosa Zambo (independent) ranked seventh with 22,881 votes; Councilor Caesar Ian Geronimo Zambo (One Cebu) ranked ninth with 20,648 votes; and Louis Nicholas Espinosa (One Cebu) ranked 10th with 20,441 votes.

After the May 2016 elections, Rafols asked the poll body to conduct a manual random recount of votes allegedly due to extensive fraud, anomalies, and massive vote-buying.

Rafols also asked the Comelec that the ballot boxes, its keys, records and other documents and paraphernalia involved in his election protest be brought to the Commission’s office.

Last April 24 to May 3, the ECAD conducted the recount procedure of the contested precincts.

Last June 7, the poll body conducted the technical examination of the voters’ signatures or thumbmarks.

After the technical examination, the parties will proceed with the marking of their evidences and submit it to the Comelec Second Division.

Damages

Tapia said, though, that Rafols “continuously failed” to provide a detailed specification of the acts showing electoral fraud, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts during the last elections.

Tapia believed that Rafols’ recount case will be dismissed by the poll body and that no recount procedure will eventually be conducted on the remaining protested precincts.

The protestees asked the Comelec’s Second Division to order Rafols to pay them P3 million as moral damages and P3 million as exemplary damages for maliciously filing an election protest.
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