camp still in hot pursuit
NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.22
After the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
dismissed the protest filed by losing mayoral candidate Lito Atienza
of Manila, new issues were raised by his camp as to the integrity of
the counting machines used in the 2010 elections. These issues form
part of their argument in connection with the Comelec’s decision on
the protest filed against Manila mayor Alfredo Lim.
Atienza’s lawyer cited the case in North Cotabato wherein the
Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines had compact flash cards
that contained votes for the positions of president and senators in
the October 27, 2007 elections in Colombia, the South American
country. Atienza's camp said that a similar occurrence may have
happened in Manila in the 2010 general elections that could have
affected the outcome of the exercise.
Furthermore, they also argued that around 600 ballots in Manila were
not signed by the Board of Election Tellers (BETs) as required. This
is their allegation in the appeal they filed before the Comelec to
reverse its decision.
Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes, Jr., after reading Atienza’s
appeal, said that it has a slim chance to succeed as Lim has
garnered a substantial lead over Atienza in the manual recount that
was conducted to resolve the protest. The findings of the Comelec's
Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) First Division
shows that in the 20% of the precincts that were subjected to a
review, Lim led with a huge margin over Atienza.
Atienza, through his lawyer Romulo Macalintal, asked the Comelec en
banc to allow them to prove all their allegations and has asked to
order the ECAD First Division to review the ballots from the
remaining 1,241 clustered precincts. The lawyer said that the result
of the revision of the remaining ballots is material in resolving
Chairman Brillantes inhibited from the earlier Comelec ruling
junking Atienza’s protest, Brillantes being a former election lawyer
of Mayor Alfredo Lim.
Surigao del Norte protest
Meanwhile, a Comelec committee in charge of reviewing the protest
filed by former Surigao del Norte Governor Robert “Ace” Barbers was
criticized for allegedly “brushing aside” evidence that were
gathered and submitted. Barbers claims that the complaints filed by
his revisors were neglected by the Comelec revision committee. The
complaints submitted contain the findings they gathered during the
actual revision of the ballots.
In the complaint, they pointed out that the ballots showed some
“patterns” and differences in the signatures of the chairman of the
BET. These were evident in some 800 ballots that were recalled. In a
letter by Barbers, he said that the complaints they filed merely
became narrative reports after the committee has set them aside.
The camp of Barbers pointed out that the committee was formed to
supervise the revision process, and it cannot perform quasi-judicial
functions. The committee’s decision to set aside the complaint was
improper as this is not part of their mandate. They further said
that only the Comelec en banc has the mandate to decide on such
matter and not the revision committee.
(Various news sources)