SC junks Bacolod City Board of Canvassers’s poll protest

THE Supreme Court Third Division dismissed the electoral protest filed against the Bacolod City Board of Canvassers including City Election Registrar Mavil Majarucon-Sia and the City Treasurer.

City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan said Wednesday, March 7, they received a notice from the Supreme Court informing them that the Court issued a resolution dated August 16, 2017 on the petition for review on certiorari filed by supporters of Magbinuligay Kita sa Kauswagan (MKK), assailing the orders dated November 21, 2016 and April 10, 2017 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 42.

He said the court resolves to deny the petition for failure to sufficiency show that the RTC committed any reversible error in the challenged as to warrant the exercise by the Court of its discretionary appellate jurisdiction.

The notice was signed by Deputy Division Clerk of Court Misael Domingo Battung III in behalf of Division Clerk of Court Wilfredo Lapitan.

Bayatan said the order is already final and executory so the petitioners Richard Calulut, Rufino Alcala, Rodelyn Jagunap, Lope Ledesma Jr., Levy Cadagat Jr., Rodolfo Robles Jr., Banni Macapodi, Nelson Reyes, Rosanna Ilon, Jose Jessie Bantigue, Madeline Diaz, Salvacion Penuela, Febe Legaspi, Joji Agbas, Emilia Lopez, Edgardo Emilia, Jessel Sombilla, and Stella Alfabeto could no longer file an appeal.

The MKK party was headed by former mayor Monico Puentevella, who lost to Mayor Evelio Leonardia in his reelection bid during the May 9, 2016 elections.

Bayatan said Leonardia was an intervenor on the case because under the rules he can be a defendant because his votes are affected in the petition.

On May 30, 2016, the petitioners filed the case against the City Board of Canvassers, which also included Majarucon-Sia, and the City Treasurer of Bacolod.

Puentevella got 97,993 votes while Leonardia garnered 120,231 votes.

On November 21, 2016, RTC Branch 42 dismissed the manual recount or audit of the ballots cast in the May 9 elections in Bacolod City filed by the petitioners.

The order stated that the courts have no authority to pass on issues through advisory opinion or to resolve hypothetical or feigned problems.

On January 25, 2018, the Commission on Elections en banc also denied the manifestation with a motion to lift of entry and certificate of finality filed by Puentevella against Leonardia.

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