The Supreme Court en banc denied with finality the appeal filed by defeated mayoralty candidate Monico Puentevella in the election protest he filed against Mayor Evelio Leonardia.
The Commission on Elections en banc, earlier denied the motion filed by Puentevella seeking to lift its “entry of judgment and certificate of finality” after the Commissiondenied his motion for reconsideration which sought to reverse the order of the Comelec-First Division that dismissed his electoral protest against the mayorfor insufficiency in form and content.
City Legal Officer Joselito Bayatan yesterday said that while the Supreme Court accepted the payment of Puentevella for a filing fee of P200, which was insufficient, yet it still denied hispetition with finality.
In other words, the findings of the Comelec that Puentevella’s protest was a fishing expedition, and witch-hunt, was affirmed by the Supreme Court, Bayatan said.
Eventually, the election protest of Puentevella versus Mayor Evelio Leonardia had finally come to rest, he said.
This confirmed eventually the mandate of Leonardia, which retroacts to the day he won the election, he added.
Bayatan said the two election protests filed by Puentevella against Leonardia before the Regional Trial Court and the Comelec were dismissed with finality by the Supreme Court.
He earlier said that when Leonardia won the elections in 2016, this was confirmed by the Comelec which sent an entry of judgment and at the same time denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Puentevella.
According to the Comelec, once the en banc has made a decision on the election, this becomes final and executory. Therefore, it is entered officially in its entry of judgment, Bayatan said.
This confirms, therefore, the wining vote of Mayor Leonardia with 120, 231 votes as against those of Puentevella which were 97,993 votes, or a margin of 22,238 votes, he said.
The election protest was filed in 2016 by Puentevella against Leonardia, the Board of Election Inspectors and the Bacolod City Treasurer, seeking a manual recount or audit of the ballots cast.*CGS
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