Court dismisses protest of losing Daanbantayan mayoral candidate
CEBU CITY – The Bogo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) dismissed the election protest filed by defeated mayoral candidate Augusto Corro against Mayor Vicente Loot of Daanbantayan town, north Cebu, because Corro failed to give Loot’s camp a copy of the complaint.
In an order dated March 31, 2017, Judge Ricky Jones Macabaya of Bogo RTC Branch 61 said: “A perusal of the record shows that the protestee (Loot) was not furnished a copy of the petition. There is also no showing that a copy of the petition was served through other modes of service as tere is no written explanation accompanying the said petition.”
Macabaya said said the failure to make proper service of the complaint will “cause the pleading or paper to be considered as not filed” under the 2010 Rules of Procedure in Election Contest Before the Courts involving Elective Municipal Officials.
“Wherefore, premises considered, the instant petition is hereby dismissed for noncompliance (of the rules),” he said.
Sought for comment, Corro said he would appeal the decision.
“The dismissal, with due respect to the court, is baseless because no law or rule requires that the protestee (Loot) should be given a copy of the protest before filing it in court,” Corro said. “The protestee is notified of the protest upon the issuance by the court of summons to him, to which a copy of the protest is attached, as provided under the rules.”
Loot, who won over Corro by just seven points in the May 2016 elections, said furnishing the respondent a copy of the complaint was “an elementary procedure no lawyer would ever miss unless it was intentional.”
“I can only guess that perhaps the protest was just to encourage his supporters to keep their hopes alive. But the protestant (Corro) actually does not want the ballot boxes to be opened because people might know that my lead over him is more than the official count,” Loot said in a text message to the Inquirer.
Loot, a retired police general, was among the police officials who were named “drug protectors” by President Rodrigo Duterte in July last year.
Loot denied the allegations. /atm/rga
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