Comelec orders transfer of Isabela ballot boxes
CAUAYAN CITY—The Commission on Elections has ordered the Isabela election supervisor to collect ballot boxes from 519 precincts in the province as it prepares for a recount of the 2010 gubernatorial election results.
The order from the Comelec’s second division came after a
Feb. 27 conference led by Commissioner Lucenito Tagle, second division chair, found the election protest of former Isabela Gov. Maria Gracia Cielo Padaca against Gov. Faustino Dy III to be sufficient in form and substance.
In the 2010 gubernatorial race, Dy stopped Padaca’s bid for a third and final term after he garnered 274,757 votes. Padaca had 271,319 votes.
Padaca, who in 2004 broke the Dy political clan’s more than 30-year rule in Isabela, cited fraud allegedly committed by Dy’s camp when she filed the protest.
Dy, however, dismissed Padaca’s allegations and sought the protest’s dismissal.
The Comelec order directed Manuel Castillo, Isabela election supervisor, to instruct Dy and Padaca to send their representatives to accompany the ballot boxes during transport.
The Comelec asked Padaca to pay P778,500 for the recount expenses and provide vehicles for the ballot boxes’ transport.
Padaca, the Comelec said, would also pay for the rental of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine that will be used to authenticate the ballots and for fees of the IT expert who will help in the process.
The Comelec ordered Castillo to tap police or military men to secure the ballot boxes’ transport.
Padaca contested results in 519 precincts in the towns of Alicia, Angadanan, Aurora, Benito Soliven, Burgos, Cabagan, Cabatuan, Echague, Gamu, Luna, Mallig, Naguilian, Ramon, Reina Mercedes, Roxas, San Guillermo, San Manuel, San Mariano, San Mateo and Sto. Tomas, and Cauayan City. Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon