CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama filed an election protest against Mayor-elect Tomas Osmeña before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Manila.

The move of the mayor is supported by 42 barangay captains in the city who signed a manifesto for it.

The outgoing mayor’s camp is asking the poll body to conduct a manual count of the votes cast during the May 9 polls.

Councilor-elect Jocelyn Pesquera, one of the lawyers handling the case, confirmed the filing of the protest.

It was submitted to Comelec around 3:40 p.m. last Friday.

Pesquera cited electoral fraud as the basis for its filing. As of yesterday, Pesquera begged off from giving a copy of the protest, saying that she is still waiting for a received and stamped copy of the document.

The mayor, for his part, is calling for a press conference today to discuss his election protest.

Team Rama member and Councilor-elect Joey Daluz III also confirmed the filing of the election protest last Friday.

While they are asking for a manual review of all the votes cast, Daluz said it is standard procedure of the poll body to review first 20 percent out of the 837 clustered precincts in the city.

The election protest proceedings will continue only if Rama will be able to recover at least 20 percent of the overall vote lead of Osmeña.

After the May 9 elections, Rama was defeated by Osmeña by a margin of 34,036 votes. Osmeña earned a total of 267,222 votes compared to Rama’s 233,186 votes.

Rama said his loss to the Bando Osmeña Pundok Kauswagan (BOPK) stalwart is “statistically improbable” because he is winning by around the same margin in the eight surveys he had prior to the polls.

He said there were “machinations” in the election results that made Osmeña win.

In a recent press conference, Osmeña said Rama can file an election protest against him.

“He is implying that I cheated. I beat Rama in his own precinct. Almost two to one. Now, analyze that for a while. I must be a very good cheater or he must be so stupid. Who wants a mayor that will allow himself to be cheated in his own precinct?” he said.

“He is so proud that he spends so much money, that’s why he said it is impossible. But my message to Mike Rama is if people don’t like you, there is nothing you can do,” he added.

A day before the filing of the election protest, 42 barangay captains signed a manifesto supporting Rama’s move questioning the election results.

Association of Barangay Council (ABC) Chief and Tisa Barangay Captain Philip Zafra said they signed the manifesto last Thursday in the presence of the outgoing mayor.

“Ang amo lang is to ferret out the truth kay murag pag last election something went wrong along the way. Wa man sad mawa kung mo-proceed na kay once and for all, it will erase doubts on the result sa election,” he said.

The manifesto, Zafra said, is also to signify that they will continue supporting Team Rama.

Out of the 80 barangays in the city, Zafra said 66 of them are identified with Team Rama.

Asked why their other allies were not able to sign the manifesto, Zafra said some of them are out of town.

Zafra said there is a political reality, though, that will lead to some of their allies to possibly jump to BOPK considering that its leader is on top of City Hall.

“But I am hoping that they will stick it out with Team Rama kay during his six years as mayor, gi-supportaan man gyud niya ang mga barangays (He supported the barangays),” he added.