Comelec junks election protest vs Bacolod mayor

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc denied the motion for reconsideration filed by former Bacolod City Mayor Monico Puentevella seeking to reverse the Comelec order dismissing his electoral protest against Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

The six-page decision promulgated on September 14, 2107 was approved by Comelec Chairman Juan Andres Bautista and signed by Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, and Sheriff Abas.

Commissioner Ma. Rowena Amelia Guanzon, a Negrense, inhibited from the case.

Reacting to development, Puentevella said: “So what is new? Everyone expected that. We have not even received our copy yet….We will know the truth soon enough.”

“It isn't over till it it’s over,” the former mayor said.

The order stated that the motion for reconsideration is denied.

Accordingly, the August 18, 2016 order of the Comelec First Division is hereby affirmed.

Under Section 1, Rule 20 of Comelec Resolution No. 8804, a motion for reconsideration may be filed on any of the following: that the evidence is insufficient to justify the decision, order or ruling; or that the said decision, order or ruling is contrary to law, it further stated.

None of the foregoing grounds were established in the instant motion.

The motion for reconsideration failed to raise matters sufficiently persuasive to warrant the reversal of the assailed order, the order said.

A careful perusal of the motion reveals that the arguments Puentevella made therein are mere rehash of all the factual and legal issues stated in his protest, it added.

On May 10, 2016, Leonardia was proclaimed the winning candidate with 120, 231 votes or a margin of 22, 238 votes over Puentevella's 97, 993 votes.

Not satisfied with the result of the elections, Puentevella filed an electoral protest with the Commission on May 20, 2016.

On August 18, 2016, the Comelec First Division issued an order, dismissing the protest for insufficiency in form and content, pursuant to Section 9, in relation to Section 7, Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 8804.

Puentevella filed a verified motion for reconsideration on August 24, 2016, and a supplemental motion for reconsideration on September 1, 2016.

Leonardia said this was expected because in the first place it was foolish to file a protest when the lead is 22,238 votes.

“Where in the world could it possibly be a matter of fraud or lapses?” the mayor asked.

Leonardia said Puentevella only wants to show to his supporters that he would have a chance, but he should be more honest to them.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said the notable basis of Puentevella's motion for reconsideration is that the glaring disparity in the results of the elections is enough to cast doubt on the results of the elections.

“This is very distorted argument of the defeated candidate Puentevella," Bayatan said.
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