HRET affirms Daza’s victory over Abayon in 2016 polls
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) has affirmed outgoing Northern Samar 1st District Rep. Raul Daza’s victory in the 2016 congressional election, a decision of the nine-member body bared.
In a unanimous decision which HRET promulgated last May 23, HRET dismissed former Northern Samar congressman Harlin Abayon’s protest and affirmed Daza’s victory by 47 votes, with Daza getting 80,157 votes against Abayon’s 80,110 during the May 2016 congressional election.
In a statement Monday, Daza expressed gratitude to HRET for deciding the case before his term ends on June 30 this year.
“I’m glad that the shadow cast by the protest over my 2016 victory has finally vanished,” he added.
Daza, who did not run for reelection in the last May 13 national and local elections after having served a total of about 22 years in seven Congresses since 1969, said the HRET decided the case on the basis of the physical revision and count made on the ballots cast in 58 clustered precincts Abayon protested and the 47 Daza counter-protested.
It evaluated the shadings by the voters of the pre-printed circles in the official ballots for the two candidates, the Liberal Party lawmaker added.
The body, chaired by Supreme Court Justice Diosdado Peralta, includes Supreme Court Justices Estela Perlas-Bernabe and Francis Jardeleza and six congresspersons elected by the House based on the proportional representation from the political parties.
HRET is mandated by the Constitution to “be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of [its] Members.”
In 2013, Abayon won the congressional seat for 1st District Northern Samar, but Daza filed an electoral protest against him due to alleged electoral fraud. HRET ousted Abayon and installed Daza, but the decision was later reversed by the Supreme Court.
Abayon then ran for another term in the 2016 elections, but he lost to Daza by a hair, prompting the former to file the said electoral protest before the HRET. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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