Atienza seeks Comelec ruling on protest
Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza is asking the Commission on Elections to decide on the case he filed against Alfredo Lim, who was proclaimed the winner in the 2010 mayoral polls.
In a statement, Atienza’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said they will be filing their appeal to the Comelec en banc next week to reverse the decision of the poll body’s First Division that dismissed Atienza’s election protest case.
“A full recount and revision of all the precincts should have been conducted by the First Division,” Macalintal added, saying Atienza believes the protest case should not have been limited to the 200 pilot precincts but also to unrevised 1,221 precincts.
Atienza had earlier said in March that he was willing to withdraw his election protest if he were not able to gain a “substantial recovery” in the first 20 percent of the ballot boxes under protest.
Macalintal, however, said that “considering the substantial findings of the 1st Division of apparent errors or irregularities in the counting by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) in the precinct level on Election Day, the Comelec cannot just ignore its own findings.”
“We will ask that the remaining 1,221 clustered precincts be likewise revised to determine the extent of the said poll irregularities and apparent errors and ultimately decide the true winner in the said election,” the lawyer added.
He was referring to the Sept. 13 decision of the First Division which noted that in 77 out of 200 pilot precincts, “the physical count does not tally with the results as per the respective election returns or statement of votes.”
However, the First Division’s three members—Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco and Christian Robert Lim—unanimously ruled that the variations were “very minimal” and that these could be attributed more to “dissimilarities in human perception during the recount process and less to the count made by the PCOS machines.”
Atienza had claimed that massive irregularities and errors in canvassing and counting attended the May 10 polls in Manila, with Lim garnering 395,910 votes while he only had 181,094 votes.
The First Division, however, said that even if the votes in the 200 pilot precincts claimed by Atienza were awarded to him, it would only give him a a maximum of 20,792 votes against Lim’s 63,464—a lead of 42,672 in Lim’s favor.
Under the Comelec rules, the protestant must be able to prove in the first 20 percent of the 1,000 ballot boxes he placed under protest that his petition has merit.
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