Roundup of several election cases in connection with the May 2010 elections

from NAMFREL Election Monitor Vol.2, No.24
Retrieval of Taguig ballots ordered

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division set anew the retrieval of ballot boxes in connection with the election protest filed by losing candidate and former Supreme Court Justice Dante Tinga of Taguig City. The protest was filed against the winner, Mayor Ma. Laarni Cayetano. In the resolution issued by the Comelec First Division, the retrieval of the ballot boxes is set from November 22 to November 25, 2011. The previous dates set for the retrieval, through a resolution issued on September 30, were October 27 and 28, and November 2 and 3.

Initially, the protest was handled by the Second Division that ordered the retrieval of the ballots. The case was then transferred to the First Division after Cayetano cited through her motion for reconsideration that the members of the Second Division were biased against her. The September 30 resolution was contested by Cayetano’s camp by filing a second motion for reconsideration. The Comelec then ruled that the mayor’s motion was just a “rehash” of her arguments that were already acted on or resolved by the poll body, hence her plea was denied for lack of merit.

Tinga, who lost by 2,420 votes to Cayetano, asked the poll body to conduct a recount through his protest. Some 43 ballot boxes will be reviewed by batches within four days after they are retrieved. The review will be conducted in the Project Management Office of the Comelec in Intramuros, Manila.

Verification of protest signatures given a “go” signal

On October 4, 2011, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) authorized the Comelec to use official documents in the protest case between 2010 Vice Presidential candidates Manuel Roxas and Jejomar Binay, in verifying the signatures attached to the recall petition cases filed against Samar Governor Sharee Ann Tan and her brother Vice-Governor Stephen James Tan. Samar Comelec Provincial Office was permitted to refer to the Book of Voters, Voter’s Registration Records and Election Day Computerized Voters’ List for the verification process.

For the recall petition to prosper, at least 45,000 verified signatures, or 10% of the voting population of Samar, have to be presented. 73, 889 signatures were attached to the protest against Gov. Tan, while 73,250 have signed for the petition against Vice-Gov. Tan. In the recall petitions filed, the Tan siblings are being criticized for alleged incompetence.

The verification of signatures was originally set from August 29 to September 20, 2011, but the PET caused the Comelec to withdraw its order since the documents that will be used for the verification were then being referred to for the election protest filed by then vice-presidential candidate and now Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) Secretary Manuel Roxas II against incumbent vice-president Jejomar Binay. The province of Samar was also one of the areas included in the petition.

Imus election result reversed by court

After ballots were reviewed, a court in Imus, Cavite annulled the result of the May 2010 elections where Homer Saquilayan was proclaimed as the mayor. Imus Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 22 declared Emmanuel Maliksi as the mayor through a 269-page decision.

Judge Cesar Mangrobang signed the decision which “annulled and set aside” the election and proclamation of Saquilayan and also issued an order to the latter to “cease and desist” from carrying out his duties and responsibilities as town mayor.

The review showed that Maliksi had a margin of 665 votes over Saquilayan. Copies of the court decision, which was signed by Judge Mangrobang on November 15, was sent to both parties. The Imus RTC ordered the review following the protest filed by Maliksi against Saquilayan. The court’s decision to have the ballots recounted affirmed the Comelec’s earlier decision granting Maliksi’s petition.

Recall petitions in Pangasinan

The recall petitions that were filed against the vice mayor and four councilors of Bani, Pangasinan was approved by the Comelec. The poll body said that the petitions were able to gather a sufficient number of petitioners.

Marcelo Tugas, Chairman of Barangay Garreta, filed the petitions against Vice Mayor Filipina Rivera and Councilors Rosalinda Acenas, Ruben Ampler, Tamerlane Olores and Cothera Gwen. He cited that the people in their town have lost confidence in the leadership of the respondents.

Bani mayor Marcelo Navarro said that he is supporting the petition because the respondents are opposing the approval of programs and projects for the town. Among the projects that were blocked were the construction of a public market and a cemetery. Navarro was also reported as claiming that he was reaching out to the vice mayor and the councilors but they refused.

Initially, the petitions were backed by around 7,532 signatures of registered voters. After verification, the number of signatures decreased to 6,796, still an ample number that comprises 24.89% of the total number of registered voters in Bani, which is 27,304. The Comelec requires at least 20% of the registered voters of the town to sign the petition.

(Various news sources)