Bacolod mayor files election protest, seeks manual recount of votes | Inquirer News

Bacolod mayor files election protest, seeks manual recount of votes

/ 10:34 AM May 31, 2022

Bacolod mayor files election protest, seeks manual recount of votes

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia | Evelio “Bing” Leonardia’s Facebook

BACOLOD CITY –– Defeated Mayor Evelio Leonardia is asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to conduct a manual recount of votes in all 450 clustered precincts in Bacolod and declare a “failure of elections.”

In a complaint filed at the Comelec central office in Manila on May 20, the mayor asked for the conduct of special elections in Bacolod allegedly due to massive vote-buying and the presence of fake voters that resulted in the “mysterious and unbelievable” outcome of the May 9 polls.


Leonardia got 107,447 votes in the elections. His rival, former Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, received 171,893 votes.


Sought for comment on Leonardia’s move, Benitez said: “The truth hurts.”

Bong Dilag, a spokesman of Benitez, said the elections in Bacolod echoed the sentiments of the people.

“It is crystal clear that Benitez successfully presented his plans and programs according to his vision and set of values that had strongly resonated with the Bacolodnons who have long hoped for change,” he said.

Dr. Chris Sorongon, spokesman of Leonardia, said it was the first time that Leonardia filed an election protest in his 34-year political career.

“The move of Mayor Leonardia to file a complaint was in response to the people’s clamor. The people of Bacolod want to know the truth. For them, the results were unbelievable,” he said in a press conference Tuesday.

Based on their investigation, Sorongon said voters received amounts ranging from P300 to P4,000 from Benitez’s camp before, during, and after the elections.


Numerous fake voters, he said, were also allowed to vote despite their information not matching those in the Election Day Computerized Voters Lists (EDCVL).

Bacolod elections officer Revo Sorbito said filing a complaint is a right provided by law.

However, he asked how there could be fake voters when only those whose names appear on the EDCVL could vote.

Sorbito said the groups of Leonardia, Benitez, and the national candidates had watchers at the poll precincts.

“The Comelec had not received reports that fake voters were challenged at the precincts. Fake voters were improbable unless the teachers would risk their careers,” he said.

Leonardia’s lawyer, Marcus Vaflor, said they have a lot of evidence and witnesses to prove that there were fake or flying voters and massive vote-buying in Bacolod.

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“We are confident we can prove our claims. Massive vote-buying is just the tip of the iceberg. Other grounds are contained in the protest,” he said.

Bacolod mayor in disbelief over defeat

TAGS: Bacolod City, Comelec, Commission on Elections, Evelio Leonardia

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