Rama wins poll protest

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo (The Freeman) - November 19, 2015 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Commission on Elections en banc has dismissed the election protest filed by former congressman Tomas Osmeña against Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama.

Rama considered the decision to be a vindication and the affirmation of his winning the 2013 elections over his former ally.

“The decision is a manifestation that we (Team Rama) have been vindicated. Team Rama won and he (Osmeña) lost over me,” Rama said.

Comelec Presiding Commissioner Christian Robert Lim dismissed the protest on November 13 on the ground that no reasonable recovery could be established from the pilot protested precincts.

Osmeña described the decision as “too little too late” considering that the next elections is coming.

 “We will just wait for the next elections,” he said.

Rama was declared the winning candidate in 2013 by the City Board of Canvassers. Based on the Certificate of Canvass of votes, from a total of 592 clustered precincts in the City of Cebu,

Rama garnered 218,632 votes while Osmeña has 212,265 votes or a margin of 6,367 votes.

Lim said Osmeña failed to recover at least 20 percent or 1,274 votes of the overall winning margin. Assuming that all votes objected by Osmeña are affirmed by Comelec, Lim said Osmeña still needs 1,153 votes to recover since he objected a total of 121 number of votes claimed by Rama.

The Comelec noted that 109 ballots were identified as stray, 48 were rejected ballots, 351 stray ballots and two rejected were claimed by both parties. Lim said 510 votes would be deducted to the 1,153 votes that Osmeña needs to recover.

Osmeña contested the 592 precincts, alleging that electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities, rampant harassment, threats, vote-buying, and terrorism were perpetrated by Rama and his supporters.

Rama filed his answer and counter-protest questioning results from 393 clustered precincts.

On July 30, 2013, Rama filed a joint position paper along with Vice Mayor Edgaro Labella, who is also facing election protest filed by former vice mayor Joy Augustos Young.

Rama and Labella alleged that Osmeña and Young failed to make a detailed specification in their respective protests of the acts or omissions complained of showing electoral frauds, anomalies, or irregularities in all the protested precincts.

On October 17, 2013, the creation of eight recount committees started the recount and completed on November 7, 2013.

The recount committee asked to print the ballot images of clustered precinct numbers 133,412,525, and 395 and the recount of these clustered precincts ended on May 27, 2015.

On June 1, Osmeña and Young filed a separate motion before the Commission on Elections in Manila to withdraw their 473 remaining protested precincts.

With this, Lim said even if the Comelec would grant the claims and objections of Osmeña and deny the claims and objections of Rama, Osmeña still failed to meet the required 20 percent margin to recover.

Lim said Rama remains to have at least a 642-vote lead against Osmeña.

“With the foregoing discussion, and after the revision of the pilot-protested precincts, this Commission finds that the Protestant (Osmeña) failed to recover at least 20 percent of the lead of the Protestee (Rama). For this reason and pursuant to Section 6 (b), Rule 15 of Comelec Resolution No. 9720, the Commission resolves to dismiss the instant protest,” reads the order. — /FPL (FREEMAN)

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