Comelec junks protest vs. Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed the electoral protest filed by 2019 losing candidate Arnel Cerafica against Taguig Mayor Lino Cayetano.
Cerafica filed the protest back in 2019 after losing with 109,313 votes against Cayetano’s 172,710.
In its recently released 251-page order, the Comelec Second Division said it found no evidence of the alleged irregularities — such as malfunctioning vote-counting machines, vote-buying, ballot shading by poll watchers, and distribution of sample ballots — that supposedly marred the mayoral elections.
The contested ballots also showed a clear preference of the voters for Cayetano, said the Comelec. Cayetano tallied 33,557 votes out of the counted 93 pilot-contested precincts while Cerafica got 25,463 votes.
Under Comelec rules, a protesting candidate must obtain a substantial recovery in the pilot-contested precincts for the case to continue with the review of the ballots.
The substantial recovery rule requires a candidate to produce a marginal increase equivalent to 20 percent of the total winning margin, which meant Cerafica needed an additional 12,680 recovery votes in order for his protest to continue.
However, in the tabulated and detailed visual examination of the ballots done by the Revision Committee, Cerafica was credited with only 82 additional votes and debited with 11 votes. His total votes barely jumped from 25,463 to 25,534, with a net gain of only 71 votes.
Meanwhile, Cayetano was also credited with 70 additional votes and debited with 15 votes, increasing his total votes from 33,557 to 33,612.
Comelec explained Cerafica’s recovery votes stood at only 16, which is way below the required 12,680 votes, and had no clear confirmation of the unassailable margin of Cayetano. So it had no choice but to dismiss the protest.
In the May 2022 elections, Cerafica is again running for mayor in Taguig — this time, against Rep. Lani Cayetano, who was won the position in 2010, 2013, and 2016.
READ: No drama: Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano gives way to sis-in-law
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