On Monday, August 22, 2011, the Commission
on Elections (COMELEC) started the manual revision of ballots
contested in relation to the protest filed by former Bacolod City
representative Monico Puentevella against incumbent Mayor Evelio
Leonardia. The two faced off during the 2010 elections for the
mayoralty position of the city.
Initially, Puentevella moved that the ballots from all the 307
precincts in the city be recounted, but after considering the cost
that he would incur, the number of precincts was reduced to just
186. And out of the 186 ballot boxes, only 37, or 20%, of which were
sent to the COMELEC office in Manila for the recount. The losing
mayoral candidate filed his protest on May 24, 2010, alleging
fraudulent acts during the casting, counting and transmission of
votes committed by the Board of Election Tellers (BET) under
Reports said that Leonardia did not file any counter charges as he
is confident in the way by which the election was conducted and that
the result was the genuine will of the people. The result of the
counting showed Puentevella garnered 86,437 votes while Leonardia
got 93,850 votes, a difference of 7,413. During the counting, some
4,805 ballots were rejected by the machines as these were crumpled,
torn, had unnecessary markings or stained.
A lawyer of Leonardia said that Puentevella went to see the conduct
of the recount when it started but he was asked to step out of the
venue. The 1st Division of the Comelec Election Contests
Adjudication Department (ECAD) asked the protestant to leave as the
Election Code provides that candidates are not allowed to enter the
premises where votes are being counted. Only the lawyers of the
candidates, election officers and revisors authorized by the
commission are allowed inside the “revision room” of the Comelec.
Meanwhile, Leonardia’s camp becomes more confident as initial result
of the recount shows that he is leading. Both camps await the
development of the recount.