Comelec sees no surge in electoral protests

Mayen Jaymalin - The Philippine Star
Comelec sees no surge in electoral protests
A Comelec official said a surge in the filing of electoral protests is highly unlikely even after thousands of vote counting machines malfunctioned during the elections.

MANILA, Philippines — Despite numerous reported glitches, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) does not see any surge in the filing of electoral protests in connection with the May 13 elections.

A Comelec official said a surge in the filing of electoral protests is highly unlikely even after thousands of vote counting machines malfunctioned during the elections.

The official, who requested anonymity, said there are many reasons why candidates file an electoral protest, and technical glitch was just one of them.

“We have been seeing a declining trend in the filing of electoral protests and I don’t think the glitches will encourage losing candidates to file now,” he said.

The official said the automation of elections contributed to the decline in the number of electoral protests filed at the Comelec in past elections.

So far, the Comelec Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) has not received a single electoral protest.

Losing candidates are probably still preparing their petition and may start filing electoral protest this week, the official said.

The Comelec official attributed the decline partly to the high cost of filing electoral protest.

He said initial filing fee is now pegged at P10,650 aside from the cost of recount.

“Per precinct being contested, the protestant will pay P1,500 and P3,000 per clustered precinct. On top of that is lawyer’s acceptance fee of at least P250,000,” the official said.

“Half a million pesos is actually a low estimate in the cost of filing electoral protest,” he added.

According to the official, the result of filing electoral protest is also not encouraging.

“Based from experience, about 95 percent of electoral protest do not prosper because of low recovery which means the candidate does not gain enough votes to reverse the election results even after recount,” he pointed out.

Losing local candidates have until Thursday to file their protest before the Comelec.

Comelec said losing candidates can file electoral protest within 10 days after the proclamation of their opponent.

It was a different story however in the case of party-list.

Yesterday, the Coalition of Senior Citizens’ Elderly in the Philippines Inc. asked the Comelec to recognize the officers of the party-list as its legitimate nominees.

Party-list president Godofredo Villar-Arquiza said the Comelec’s accreditation of its official nominees is urgent in the wake of the group’s expected poll victory.

He said the party-list’s board of trustees issued last May 6 a resolution naming its nominees with the sworn certificates of acceptance signed by them that were submitted to the Comelec.

“Comelec should recognize the official act of our party-list’s official and legal board of trustees and proceed to accredit the official legitimate nominees named in the board resolution,” Arquiza said.

Arquiza said the party-list does not recognize a group of “disgruntled individuals” claiming to be its officers and nominees.

He said the disgruntled members were previously expelled from the party-list and merely fabricated their own list.

Despite their expulsion from the Senior Citizens party-list, Arquiza said the Comelec declared the group’s first and second nominees as the representatives of the party-list.

Arquiza urged the poll body to accredit only the official nominees of the party-list.

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