Cebu News

Durano’s election protest vs Frasco moves forward

Lorraine Ecarma - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The election protest filed by former Cebu congressman Ramon "Red" Durano IV against Fifth District Rep. Vincent "Duke" Frasco moves a step forward.

Last September 6, 2019, the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) ordered the issuance of summons in response to Durano’s election protest.

"Considering that the instant election protest does not fall among any of those cases which may be summarily dismissed as provided for in Rule 23 of the 2015 Rules of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, the Tribunal orders the issuance of summons in this case," the notice reads.

Durano's legal counsel, former Commission on Elections (COMELEC) commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal, described the issuance of the notice as a progressive step toward their request for a manual recount of votes in Cebu’s Fifth District.

"That means to say the case was found to be in compliance with the procedures… it will go through the process within which we'll be able to eventually check the ballots, the ballot boxes, and election paraphernalia to verify the actual count of election votes," Larrazabal said.

Alongside the summons, the HRET also issued a precautionary order for the municipal or city treasurer and election officers and custodians to safeguard all ballots boxes and their contents, the list of voters with voting records, books of voters, and other election paraphernalia that are subject of the protest.

In a message to The Freeman, Frasco said he agrees with the HRET order.

"I agree with the HRET's position. In fact, in my answer and Counter Protest, I requested the HRET to conduct a manual count of ALL precincts in the 5th district and not just the 5 LGUs protested by Durano. I believe that with a manual recount of all precincts in the 5th district, my lead of almost 36k will be much much more," his message reads.

On July 15, 2019, Durano filed an electoral protest before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) for a manual recount of the votes cast in the Fifth District. Durano also wants the tribunal to void Frasco’s election.

The electoral protest extends to 462 clustered precincts in the Fifth District in Danao City and the Municipalities of Borbon, Carmen, Catmon, Compostela, Liloan, Poro, San Francisco and Tudela.

Durano alleged that in multiple instances during the May 13 elections, several PCOS (Precinct Count Optical Scan) machines fluctuated during the day and caused a four-hour delay.

"There are several machines that malfunctioned on election day and there were several SD cards that malfunctioned so… that has to be examined by the tribunal. The examination of those paraphernalia is part of the process and we will eventually get there," Larrazabal said.

Durano also alleged that several voters who reportedly claimed to have voted for Durano did not see their vote reflected on their voter's receipt.

Frasco got 152,435 votes while Durano got 116,826 votes, trailing behind by 35,609 votes.

Red Durano, a former vice mayor of Danao City, is the son of Danao mayor Ramon "Nito" Durano III.

Duke Frasco was mayor of Liloan and is the husband of the current mayor of the town, Christina Frasco, the president of the League of Municipalities – Cebu. —  JMO (FREEMAN)

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