Defeated vice gubernatorial bet in South Cotabato alleges cheating, files poll protest
KORONADAL CITY — A defeated vice gubernatorial candidate in South Cotabato has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a recount of votes in one town, believing there were anomalies committed during the May 9 national and local elections to favor his rival.
In a petition filed before Comelec-Manila, copies of which were released here Friday, South Cotabato Board Member Bernie Palencia, who ran for vice governor under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s PDP-Laban, said a recount should be conducted in 10 clustered precincts in the villages of Maan, Salacafe, Dlanag and Agus in the upland town of T’boli.
Palencia suspects that the delay in the transmission of votes from T’boli for about two days was due to possible anomalies committed by supporters and operators of his rival, Board Member Vic de Jesus.
Palencia claimed that he was ahead in the official counting when the delays of transmission of votes from T’boli’s 10 clustered precincts were reported. When the results were finally transmitted at the provincial canvassing center, De Jesus’ votes suddenly ballooned.
De Jesus who was proclaimed winner along with reelectionist Gov. Daisy Avance Fuentes three days later, was ahead by 1,144 voters over Palencia.
Palencia alleged that irregularities such as pre-determined or pre-programmed election results in the Vote Counting Machines (VCM), pre-shaded ballots used by some of selected voters, automatic shutdown of VCM, corrupted cards and vote buying.
He said he had evidence to prove his claim.
De Jesus said he was surprised by Palencia’s petition and stressed he had no capacity to cheat.
De Jesus said his statement of contributions and other expenses did not surpass P500,000.
Gubernatorial candidate Fernando Miguel, Palencia’s running mate, also complained before the Comelec that his rival, reelected Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, cheated and committed election offenses like vote buying in at least four towns in South Cotabato.
Fuentes laughed off Miguel’s petition and said she would face the allegations in proper forum.
Fuentes had yet to receive copies of the petition, as of Sunday. SFM
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