FOUR months ago, the Commission on Elections already completed the revision of ballots used in the 2007 elections in Pampanga. But until now, the poll body has yet to issue a resolution on this matter.

 

In September last year, Comelec’s Second Division chair Nicodemo Ferrer said the winner in the ballots recount will be known before the end of 2009. 

 

A few days before Christmas, Governor Eddie Panlilio and his supporters even held a series of “vigil masses” at the Capitol ground in anticipation of the Comelec’s issuance of the recount resolution in favor of the petitioner, former Board Member Lilia Pineda.

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Panlilio’s group threatened to “muster people power” if the monsignor governor is compelled to vacate the Capitol.

 

Whether or not the Comelec heard this threat, it did not issue any resolution as regards the recount of contested ballots.

 

After Christmas, Ferrer was quoted as saying that the decision will be out on January 7. But when the day came, Ferrer belied the statement attributed to him. “I was quoted as stating January 7. I never said that, what I said was maybe. I don’t want to give any estimate anymore,” Ferrer told newsmen.

 

But Ferrer also said that the decision may be out “by the end of next week” – which was the other week.

 

The Comelec’s Second Division seems to be finding it hard to review the 3,000-page Panlilio vs. Pineda decision, which is not really that bulky compared to the already promulgated 12,000-page Padaca vs Dy ballots recount decision.

 

The issuance of the Pampanga ballots recount decision, as many believe, including the camp of Panlilio, will have an adverse effect on the monsignor governor, as he might have to eventually vacate the governor’s office if all his legal motions to the poll body and the Supreme Court are dismissed.

 

Now, who will benefit from the anticipated decision on the recount? Without thinking, we would say Pineda. After all, she was the one who filed the petition for ballots revision.

 

But will a favorable decision really be beneficial to Pineda? Morally, absolutely. It will once and for all prove to every Pampangueño that she is the real winner in the last gubernatorial election and the true governor of Pampanga. I guess that’s one victory worth fighting for.

 

On the other hand, once the Comelec and the Supreme Court decided to uphold the recount victory of Pineda, the term served by Panlilio will be counted as her term. Thus, she will be eligible to run for only two more terms, instead of three.

 

Take the case of Mabalacat Chinoy businessman Anthony Dee, as a reference. Although Dee was not able to occupy the mayor’s office even for a single day, the term served by Mayor Boking Morales between 1998 to 2001 were counted as Dee’s, as it was declared that he was the real winner in the 2008 Mabalacat mayoralty race.

 

Technicalities and complications involved in the country’s electoral system made former Mayor Anthony Dee an elected official who never actually performed his functions, duties and responsibilities as a local chief executive. He was a mayor who was not able to occupy his rightful seat not because of incapacity but because of the election law itself.

 

The same laws, which limit the terms of local chief executives to only nine years, also enable Morales to actually serve as town mayor for 15 years, with only a few weeks or months of “interrupted” tenure. And he is still eligible to run for two more terms.