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SC voids election of Sarangani mayor

/ 10:50 PM December 21, 2011

GENERAL SANTOS CITY—The Supreme Court has sided with finality with a decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that voided the election of Mayor Jose Zamorro of Maasim, Sarangani, in favor of his rival.

In its ruling last week, a copy of which was obtained by the Inquirer, the high court said there was no reason to grant Zamorro with relief from the Comelec ruling.

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In May this year, the Comelec en banc ruled that Zamorro’s proclamation by the municipal board of canvassers (MBOC) was erroneous and that Arturo Lawa, his closest rival, should have been named mayor.

The MBOC used as basis Zamorro’s 5,321 votes in the final canvass. Lawa, in the said document, only got 5,306 votes.

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But Lawa argued that the MBOC failed to canvass the actual votes he and Zamorro got from Precinct No. 21 due to a transmission error.

What the MBOC had canvassed, he said, was the nine votes for Zamorro from the mock elections held at the said precinct during the testing of a PCOS machine.

The questioned clustered precinct, which covered four in Barangay Kablakan, had 800 registered voters but only 616 actually voted in the May 10 elections.

In the certified election returns from the precinct, Lawa received 136 votes while Zamorro had only 62 votes. This would have made Lawa the real winner.

Instead of yielding to the Comelec en banc ruling, Zamorro had questioned it before the Supreme Court.

His first petition was dismissed but he filed a motion for reconsideration.

In its latest decision, the high court said it had no reason to reverse its earlier ruling dismissing Zamorro’s petition and ordered the Comelec to reconvene the MBOC for Lawa’s proclamation.

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Zamorro would not issue a statement but Lawa said he was hoping his legal battle to claim what is rightfully his was now over.

“I hope my proclamation would take place soon,” Lawa said. Aquiles Z. Zonio, Inquirer Mindanao

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TAGS: Comelec, Mayor Jose Zamorro of Maasim, Supreme Court
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