Comelec en banc affirms ruling on electoral protest

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) affirmed its ruling on the electoral protest against Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

The en banc has denied the manifestation with a motion to lift entry of judgment and certificate of finality filed by former Bacolod City mayor Monico Puentevella.

The two-page decision promulgated on January 25 was approved by Comelec Acting Chairman Christian Robert Lim and signed by Commissioners Al Parreño, Luie Tito Guia, Arthur Lim, and Sheriff Abas.

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

On October 27, 2017, the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (Ecad) of Comelec issued a certificate of finality on its decision on the electoral protest.

It upheld the decision of the Commission’s First Division on August 18, 2016, which dismissed the appeal of Puentevella for insufficiency in form and content in accordance with Section 9 in relation to Section 7, Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 8804 or the Comelec Rules of Procedure on Disputes in an Automated Election System.

Puentevella’s manifestation stated that “it is incorrect for this Honorable Commission to issue a certificate of finality and entry of judgment in this case when the protestant has timely filed a petition for certiorari under Rule 64. Protestant still has a remedy as provided by law which he timely availed of even before the certificate of finality of judgment was issued.”

The former mayor, when sought for a comment, said: "Wala pa gani si Bongbong Marcos, ako pa?”

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.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said that based on Comelec order, it stated that once it has decided a decision about the election, decided by Comelec en banc, it becomes final and executory.

"This confirms, therefore, the winning landslide vote of Mayor Leonardia," he said.
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