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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, May 24, 2016
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Monico, Vladi file election protests
BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella, standard bearer of Pamilya MKK and his running mate Vladimir Gonzalez filed an election protest before the Commission on Elections Central Office Friday seeking a public manual recount of all votes cast in Bacolod City.

Congressional candidate Jude Thaddeus Sayson yesterday said he has until June 15 to file an election protest before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal in Quezon City.

Their legal counsel Joseph Ray Gumabon showed during a press conference yesterday that out of 274,541 registered voters in Bacolod about 13,964 did not vote for a mayoralty candidate; 27,953 did not vote for congressman, and a staggering 40,670 voters failed to cast their vote for vice mayoralty choices.

Gumabon said they also discovered a 26,706 difference in terms of those who voted for a mayoralty candidate but did not vote for a vice mayor.

He said there were 274,541 registered voters in Bacolod City and the valid votes cast for the three top posts were 235,641 votes.

The votes cast for mayor were 221,677, congressman – 207,688 and vice mayor – 194,971, Gumabon said.

Gonzalez, who described the inconsistency as something that follows a “1:2:3 pattern”, said that 758 voters did not vote for mayor in Barangay Taculing, while 734 and 732 voters did not vote for the same position in Barangay Tangub and Villamonte, respectively.

About 1,471 voters in Taculing also failed to cast their votes for congressman, while Tangub had 1,474 and Villamonte, 1,587. There were also 2,250 voters who did not vote for a vice mayoralty candidate in Barangay Taculing, as well as 2,214 in Barangay Tangub and 2,311 in Barangay Villamonte.

The camp is now praying for a 100 percent manual recount to be done here in Bacolod “in the presence of the public” with around 100-200 precincts to be prioritized.

They also noted discrepancies in the conduct of the Random Manual Audit and also cited the unusual high voter turnout for Bacolod of 85.83 percent. But Talisay had an even higher 87.67 percent, and also Silay at 86.9 percent, Philippines - 81.62 percent, Negros Occidental - 83.57 percent and Negros Oriental - 83.86 percent.

Gumabon said the last election did not give them certainties. It gave them more doubts and more questions. The unaccounted votes of 40,000 or 15 percent of the total number of voters turnout is enough to change the result of the election where the presumptive winner for mayor led by “only” 22,238 votes, he, said.

They have a legal team that is working on the result for councilors because it is also questionable, he said, and they expect the manual recount to be done within six to eight months.

Puentevella said if the result shows he lost, it will be easy for him to concede.
“We know that seeking truth and justice has its price. But we have to do it because this is for the people of Bacolod,” he said.

Puentevella who got 97,993 votes, lost to Leonardia who garnered 120,231 votes, while Familiaran garnered 108,360 votes against Gonzalez who got 86,611 votes.

Gasataya garnered 85,467 votes against Sayson who got 84,431 votes.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department of the Commission on Elections in Manila has scheduled today the random manual audit for a clustered precinct in Brgy.10, Bacolod City.

Bacolod Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia said the notices she received yesterday from ECAD is in relation to the protests filed by Puentevella against Leonardia and the one filed by Gonzalez against Familiaran.

Majarucon-Sia said the subject of this electoral contest is clustered precinct 28 in Barangay 10 that was the same precinct earlier subjected to random manual audit.

On the other hand , Leonardia's legal counsel Joselito Bayatan said the defeated Pamilya MKK candidates and protestants are in their usual dramatics and theatrical form.

They tried to put up a play while playing with numbers about the votes cast in relation to the total number of registered voters, then hastily conclude that their resulting defeat was due to fraud, he said.

“We cannot understand their incomprehensible premise that while they admitted that there was a total of 85.83 percent turn out of voters, thus translating to about total votes' cast of 235,638 out of the total registered voters of 274,541, they cannot just believe that they suffered a crushing defeat,” Bayatan said.

If they think of impossibility, it is the impossibility of reversing their defeat in the election, he said.

Bayatan said common sense and logic will clearly conclude that when the people of Bacolod City rejected these sour-graping candidates on the basis of the heavy turn-out of voters, the vote against them will also be necessarily in enormous numbers.

Thus, Puentevella lost by 23,238 votes to Leonardia, Gonzalez by 21,749 votes to Familiaran. Although Gasataya won against Sayson for congressional position by 1,036 votes, such winning comes from the same people who rejected Puentevella to oust him from his seat as incumbent mayor, he said.

“We must take note that the electronic manner of voting is characterized by the unity of process whereby the voting counting machine reads in the same manner the votes cast from President down to the lowest candidate, also under the uniformity of the design and feature of the ballots,” he said..

There is no human intervention whatsoever in this manner of electronic election. Meaning, this manner of electronic voting therefore speaks about the conscience of the people of Bacolod. If their conscience speaks that they rejected Puentevella, Gonzalez and Sayson, so be it, he said.

But if these losers claim that there was fraud, then they are patently insulting the voters, the intelligent people of Bacolod, Bayatan added.*CGS

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