THE Regional Trial Court (RTC) in San Carlos City has ordered the recount of votes against Toboso, Negros Occidental Mayor Richard Jaojoco, Vice Mayor Evello Valencia, and the eight members of the Sangguniang Bayan starting June 19.
Jaojoco confirmed the recount which stemmed from the election protest filed by their opponents in the May 2013 elections led by mayoralty candidate Ma. Luisa de la Cruz.
Thirty-one ballot boxes will be subjected to the recount.
De la Cruz's camp questioned how Jaojoco won the election because he was not popular in Toboso during the May 2013 elections.
The voters’ turnout was more than 19,000, wherein Jaojoco garnered more than 10,000 votes with a difference of 1,858 votes against De la Cruz.
The protestors also would like to test the credibility of the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
The election protest of De la Cruz said there are massive fraud, disparity, and inconsistency in the voters’ turnout and the actual votes garnered by the winners and the losing candidates.
Provincial Election Supervisor Jessie Suarez said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has no jurisdiction over the election protest because those filed at the municipal level are under the RTC.
Only those at the level of the city and the province are under the Comelec function.
Election protest in the barangay level is under the municipal trial courts.
Suarez said the recount is worth watching because it would also prove the credibility of the PCOS machines since the recount will be done manually.
He added that the Comelec has granted the petition of De la Cruz camp to assign watchers, and for the Philippine National Police personnel to secure the 31 ballot boxes kept at the Municipal Treasurer's Office after the May 2013 elections.
Suarez said the 31 ballot boxes represent the total number of precincts in Toboso in the last elections.