FORMER Talisay City Mayor Eric Saratan on Thursday, June 22, said they will sustain the election protest filed by his wife Shiela, who lost to Mayor Nilo Jesus Antonio Neil Lizares in the May 2016 elections.
This came after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division junked Saratan’s protest, but since one of the commissioners issued a dissenting opinion, the case was elevated to the Comelec en banc.
“We will sustain the case. The fight is not yet over and the case is still ongoing because of the dissenting decision of Commissioner Luie Tito Guia,” the former mayor said.
He added that they see a greater chance of a reversed decision by the First Division as long as the remaining 80 percent of the protested ballots will be recounted.
“We want the people of Talisay to know that this is not yet over. We believe that Sheila will gain more than 8,000 votes should the remaining 80 percent will be recounted,” Saratan said.
On the other hand, Talisay City Administrator Jonathan Ealdama said Lizares is optimistic the Comelec en banc will affirm the decision of the First Division.
Ealdama said that Mrs. Saratan failed to establish a reasonable lead in her case against Lizares.
On June 15, the Comelec First Division ruled that Saratan failed to establish a reasonable recovery from the recount or revision of ballots from her chosen pilot protested clustered precincts that are why it elevated the case to the Comission en banc.
Commissioner Christian Robert Lim favored the dismissal of Saratan’s protest while Guia entered a dissenting opinion. Commissioner Rowena Guanzon inhibited from the case being a Negrense.
Ealdama said Guia’s dissenting opinion did not reverse the decision of the First Division because the decision went through a very thorough discussion.
He even signed it but only that he put a note that he had dissenting opinion, stating that there is no basis yet to make such a conclusion, he added.
Section 6 (b), Rule 15 of Resolution 8805 states that there is reasonable recovery when the protestant is able to recover at least 20 percent of the overall lead of the protestee. In the current case, Lizares leads by 7,321 votes.
Therefore, for the purpose of the 20 pilot protested clustered precincts, the protestant Saratan needs to recover a total of 1,509 votes.
Saratan added: “This case does not affect the governance of Talisay City. We just want justice.”
“The dissenting opinion of Commissioner Guia is already enough for us, but let the legal process continue until justice is finally served. This is cause of the people and not just our family’s,” he further said.