SAN Fernando Mayor-elect Antonio Canoy opposed a motion that defeated mayoral candidate Lakambini Reluya filed, where she asked the court to clarify that only one Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine is needed to authenticate questioned ballots from the town.
Canoy, through lawyers Joe Vinson Empaces, Carlo Vincent Gimena, Feliciano Alinson and Dominic Dino, described his rival’s motion as “vague and misleading.”
“It attempts to seek modification of the order of the Honorable Court that is crystal-clear and that simply upholds the rule of law, in the guise of asking for a clarification,” Canoy’s lawyers said in their opposition to the motion.
Judge Ramon Daomilas of the Regional Trial Court Branch 11 confirmed he wrote the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and requested authority to transport 49 PCOS machines from the warehouse of Smartmatic in Laguna to Cebu, to authenticate the contested ballots.
Judge Daomilas said the Comelec en banc will meet this week to deliberate on the request to ship the vote-counting machines to Cebu.
If their request is granted and the PCOS machines arrive in Cebu, Daomilas said authentication of the questioned ballots could be done within three days.
The Reluya camp, he added, will have to shoulder the expenses for bringing the PCOS machines to Cebu.
In a motion she filed recently, Reluya said only one vote-counting machine is needed to authenticate the contents of 49 ballot boxes.
This can be done by “reconfiguring” the same PCOS machine for every precinct, using the compact flash card for each specific precinct, said Reluya.
Reluya said her lawyers were informed by poll officials in Manila that one PCOS machine is enough. Reluya also confirmed that her lawyers wrote the Comelec in Manila and inquired about the availability of a vote-counting machine.
Reluya’s lawyers argued it would take an “eternity” for Smartmatic to sort out the vote-counting machines used in the municipality.
The proposal to bring 49 PCOS machines to Cebu “is an intolerable waste of scarce money, time and human resources” of both parties and the courts, her lawyers added.
But Canoy argued the law requires authentication of contested ballot boxes through the use of PCOS machines “actually used” during the elections.
Judge Daomilas dismissed Reluya’s motion.
He cited Rule 10, Section 6(e) of the 2010 Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests. It states: “The authentication shall be through the use of the PCOS machine actually used during the elections or by another device certified by the Commission to be acceptable of performing the desired authentication requirement through the use of the bar codes and ultra-violate ray code detection mechanism.”
Canoy asked the court to treat Reluya’s latest motion as “a mere scrap of paper.”
Reluya, of the Alayon/Nacionalista Party, obtained 14,055 votes. Canoy of the Liberal Party was declared winner after gar- nering 15,329 votes.
Reluya has asked for a recount, claiming there were “widespread anomalies” in the southern town’s elections.