Comelec junks Piñol’s electoral protest for lack of merit
As stipulated in the newly adopted policy of the Comelec on the rules of procedure on disputes in an automated election system, the votes that will be recovered in the precincts designated, in this case by Piñol, would exemplify the merits or legitimacy of his protest. As per physical count done by the Comelec First Division, Piñol only got 1,915 votes while Taliño-Medoza had 18,175 votes.
By ALEX D. LOPEZ
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato, Philippines — The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) First Division dismissed on June 7 the electoral protest filed by former Vice Governor Emmanuel Piñol against Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza in relation to the gubernatorial race last polls for lack of merit.
In a 14-page order, the Comelec First Division noted that Piñol “failed to establish the merit or legitimacy of his election protest from the precincts he so selected in the belief that the same would exemplify his claim.”
In 2010, just days after the national elections, Piñol filed a protest to the Comelec on the alleged massive cheating, electronic fraud, vote-padding, vote-buying and harassment of voters. Governor Taliño-Mendoza won that election with 236,966 votes against Piñol’s 199,332 votes — a difference of 37,634 votes.
Piñol claimed that “the results were seriously tainted, irregular and defective” and accused the camp of Governor Taliño-Mendoza of coordinating “a scheme of dirty political tactics.”
However, Taliño-Mendoza denied the allegations and maintained that “the automated elections in the entire province of North Cotabato were held peacefully, orderly and credibly.”
On May 31, 2011 the Comelec Division ordered Piñol to submit his designated pilot precincts constituting 20 percent of the total number of protested precincts in North Cotabato.
As stipulated in the newly adopted policy of the Comelec on the rules of procedure on disputes in an automated election system, the votes that will be recovered in the precincts (20 percent) designated, in this case by Piñol, would exemplify the merits or legitimacy of his protest.
Piñol submitted a total of 56 clustered precincts representing the 20 percent ordered by the Comelec Division. These are the precincts from the towns of M’lang, President Roxas, Carmen, Pikit, Kabacan and Magpet.
The Comelec First Division proceeded with the revision and recount on the submitted precincts on September 5 to 9, 2011. However, it found no irregularities.
As per physical count done by the Comelec First Division, Piñol only got 1,915 votes while Taliño-Medoza had 18,175 votes.
According to the Comelec Division, even if all the ballots claimed and objected are added to Piñol, the number of required votes “will still fall short to the minimum.”
Piñol must be able to gather more votes than Taliño-Mendoza to determine the merit of his case. But he needed more than 6,744 votes to establish reasonable recovery. Thus, the Comelec First Division decided not to proceed with the recount of the remaining 80 percent precincts, dismissing Pinol’s protest for lack of merit.
In a press conference,June 10, Taliño-Mendoza called on the people of North Cotabato “to unite” and urge local leaders “to continue implementing programs and projects for the people.”
She admitted though, that the protest lodged against her created tensions among the constituents in the province. “But the pressures did not affect the discharge, completion and realization of my administration’s programs and projects,” she said.
In an interview over a local station here, Tuesday, Piñol refused to comment on the issue. He said, he will file a motion for reconsideration today, June 13. (Alex D. Lopez/davaotoday.com)