Bacolod City Treasurer Giovanni Balalilhe said he received an order from the Commission on Elections Central Office to secure the ballot boxes but has not yet been ordered to transport them to Manila.
He said he informed the Comelec that a similar election protest had been filed in the Regional Trial Court in Bacolod City.
The 390 ballot boxes are being kept in the City Treasurer's Office-Comelec warehouse at the BAYS Center, he also said.
Balalilhe said there are 392 clustered precincts in Bacolod City. Three were subject to manual audit and two were submitted to Manila for a similar audit.
Former Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella and his running mate, vice mayoralty candidate Vladimir Gonzalez filed an election protest against incumbent Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, respectively, before the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department of the Commission on Elections, seeking a manual recount or audit of the ballots cast during the May 9 elections.
Puentevella got 97,993 votes against Leonardia who got 120,231 votes, while Gonzalez got 86,611 votes against El Cid Familiaran who got 108,360 votes.
A similar pending case of “recount” was earlier filed before the Branch 42 of the Regional Trail Court by Richard Calulut et al also seeking a manual recount or audit of the ballots cast in the May 9 elections.
Balalilhe said he sent his reply informing the Commission that a similar case had been filed in Bacolod after he received a subpoena from the RTC.
They will let Comelec decide which election protest will be given preference, he said.
He said he read in a news report that Bacolod City is one of the areas covered by the election protest of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. who lost to Vice President Leni Robredo, Balalilhe said.
Seniority-wise the protest of Marcos will prevail, he said.
Marcos filed the case before the Supreme Court, which serves as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), against the victory of Robredo.
He asked PET for the re-opening of ballot boxes in 36,465 clustered precincts in more than 10 local government units in the country, including Bacolod City.*CGS
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