Four Cebuano candidates filed their election protests yesterday beating a deadline 10 days after the automated elections held across the country.
In Cebu City, the Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) sought a recount of votes cast for mayor and vice-mayor to include the 20 rejected ballots.
In Lapu-Lapu City businessman Efrain Pelaez Jr. filed an election protest against Mayor Paz Radaza while mayoral candidate Cesar Baricuatro filed his own complaint against Dumanjug Mayor Nelson Garcia.
In their election protests, Rep. Tomas Osmeña of Cebu City’s south district and outgoing vice mayor Joy Augustus Young asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to secure the ballots used in the elections.
The ballots in question are now kept inside the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines which remain stored under tents placed at the City Hall legislative building grounds.
Councilor Gerardo Carillo, one of the BO-PK’s lawyers, said the protests questioned the proclamations of re-elected Mayor Michael Rama and incoming Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella.
He alleged there was massive fraud and irregularity which changed the outcome of the elections. Carillo was unable to furnish an official copy of their complaints, saying they will return to Cebu City today.
Carillo said they also wanted Comelec to investigate accusations that some Team Rama candidates and their barangay officials “were actively campaigning inside the voting centers.”
Councilor Jose Daluz III, Team Rama campaign manager, said filing an election protest was expensive since complainants would pay a bond to Comelec.
But he said he respects the BO-PK’s decision. “We’ll wait for a copy fo the protest,” he said.
In Dumanjug town, Liberal Party-Cebu (LP-Cebu) Cesar Baricuatro filed an election protest against Mayor Nelson Garcia of One Cebu.
Baricuatro said he received a report from one policeman in Dumanjug town that there were five or six policemen who received P10,000 each from Garcia.
“It is in the election code that any public official must not give money to any person,” he said.
In Lapu-Lapu City, businessman Efrain Pelaez Jr. sought to nullify the proclamation of re-elected Mayor Paz Radaza and her entire slate owing to alleged irregularities in the number of votes cast during the elections.
Pelaez also asked the Comelec to secure the election materials and records used in Lapu-Lapu City and nullify election returns in barangays Basak, Mactan, Punta Engano, and 11 barangays from the islands covering 64 clustered precincts.
In an email sent to Cebu Daily News, the Lapu-Lapu City chapter of the Liberal Party (LP) questioned the winning margin of 9,278 votes of Mayor Radaza over Pelaez.
It said there are 128,898 votes cast in Lapu-Lapu City. Of that number, 119,085 voted for candidates in the mayoral post with 108,329 and 108,804 voting for congressional candidates and vice mayoral candidates respectively.
Radaza received 62,874 votes while Pelaez received 53,596 votes.
“While more than 108,000 voted for congressman and vice mayor, why did the total for those who voted for mayor reached 119,000 or 10,000 more,” said Cerwin Eviota, spokesperson for the LP-Lapu-Lapu City chapter.
Pelaez also accused Radaza of harassing voters in barangays Basak, Mactan, Punta Engano, Baring, Cawhagan, Caubian, Caw-oy, Pangan-an, Sabang, Santa Rosa, San Vicente, Talima, Tingo and Tungasan covering 64 clustered precincts.
He also claimed that Radaza’s watchers were spotted helping voters insert their ballots into the PCOS machines in front of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI). Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac and CNU Interns Allet Mary Teves and Jeanymae Ardiente