Comelec dismisses poll protest vs Lamitan City mayor
John Unson (The Philippine Star) - July 16, 2013 - 12:08pm

COTABATO City, Philippines - The dismissal of the electoral case filed against the newly-elected mayor of Lamitan City in Basilan by a defeated rival is a big boost to efforts of restoring political normalcy in all of the city’s 45 barangays, community leaders said Tuesday.

Manny Sumampil, president of Lamitan City’s Association of Barangay Chairmen, said they are grateful that the 2nd Division of the Commission on Elections has dismissed the protest filed against Mayor Rosita Uy Furigay by her nephew, Hegem Furigay, whom she defeated during the May 13, 2013 mayoral race.

The younger Furigay protested the proclamation of the mayor and requested for a recount of the results of the mayoral elections in 11 of the 45 barangays in the city, where he and another mayoral candidate, former Vice-Mayor Arleigh Eisma, both lost.

“The dismissal of this electoral case is a big boost to our efforts of restoring political normalcy in our city,” Sumampil, chairman of Barangay Segal, said in Chavacano dialect.

The 2nd Division of Comelec dismissed the case last week after Furigay and his lawyer failed to appear for a preliminary conference on the case.

The defeated mayoral candidate also failed to submit a mandatory narration on why he had asked for a recount of the election returns from 11 out of the 45 barangays in Lamitan City.

The counsel of Mayor Furigay, lawyer Quirino Esguerra, on Tuesday confirmed that the electoral case was dismissed last week.

Asbie Alkie, chairman of Barangay Bulanting, a vote-rich area in Lamitan City, said they are hoping Comelec’s ruling on the case will put closure to the rivalry of the political camps that pitted candidates for mayor and vice-mayor during the city’s May 13 local elections.

“We are happy that the Comelec ruled promptly on the electoral case filed against our mayor. That will redound to the improvement of the political atmosphere in our communities,” Alkie said.

The newly-elected Mayor Furigay succeeded her husband, Roderick Furigay, who ran and won as the city's vice-mayor last May 13.

“In my barangay, voters that supported the rivals of Mrs. Furigay during the May 13 elections immediately acknowledged the ruling of the Comelec. That gesture of acceptance and recognition is good for our barangay,” said Noel Kenny Flores, chairman of Barangay Limooc.

The election of the Furigay couple as mayor and vice mayor was the first ever in the 23-year political history of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Lamitan City is the capital of Basilan, a component province of ARMM.

ASBIE ALKIE ASSOCIATION OF BARANGAY CHAIRMEN AUTONOMOUS REGION BARANGAY BULANTING CITY COMELEC FURIGAY LAMITAN CITY MAYOR MAYOR FURIGAY
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