MANILA, Philippines ? (UPDATE) The Commission on Elections (Comelec) ruled Thursday that Lilia Pineda won over incumbent Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio after a recount of the votes in the 2007 local elections.
The Comelec issued its decision after recounting votes from 4,683 ballot boxes between Aug. 12 and Sept. 16, 2009 following Pineda?s petition amid allegations of fraud. Committees formed by the camps of Panlilio and Pineda also examined the ballots for irregular marks.
In the recount, Pineda got 190,729 votes while Panlilio got 188,718, said Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer, chairman of the poll body?s second division.
?Panlilio is hereby ordered to vacate the gubernatorial post in favor of Pineda,? the second division ruled.
During the reading of the resolution, Panlilio was heard to say ?as expected.?
Asked to comment, Panlilio said that his camp expected the second division to rule in favor of Pineda after their appeals to temporarily stop the recount so that they could recoup funds to pay his revisors were denied repeatedly.
?Based on this pattern in which our motions have been denied, we expected we would not get fair treatment on this case,? said Panlilio.
However, Panlilio said that his legal counsel lawyer Sixto Brillantes would study the 11,000-page resolution before filing their petition with the commission five days after the promulgation of the resolution.
Brillantes appealed to the second division to extend to seven days the deadline for the filing of their motion for reconsideration but which Ferrer denied.
Panlilio?s party can file a motion for reconsideration and later elevate the case to the Comelec en banc. If the party still contests the en banc ruling, a motion for reconsideration can be filed again, which can later be elevated to the Supreme Court, said Ferrer.
Pineda's legal counsel George Irwin Garcia said they welcomed the decision, which affirmed their belief that votes cast for Pineda in the 2007 elections were mis-appreciated.
Panlilio won by a slim 1,147 votes over Pineda in the 2007 elections. Pineda later filed a protest stating that votes carrying her nickname ?Nanay Baby? were ?mis-appreciated? or misread during the counting.