Defeated Cebu town mayoral bet to oppose re-canvassing

February 27, 2012 12:05 pm 

CEBU CITY, Feb. 27 -– Former mayor Richie Wagas will oppose the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc’s order to re-canvass Monday the election returns (ER) of the May 10, 2010 polls in Compostela, Cebu.

These are presumed to be fake and should be authenticated first, said the former mayor.

The Comelec en banc has ordered that the ERs from Compostela shall be re- canvassed at Monday morning in Manila to determine who won the elections for mayor, vice mayor and municipal councilors.

An election protest lodged by Wagas has left the northern Cebu town with no elective officials for about 19 months now.

Wagas, however, said that the Comelec en banc must revisit its order dated Jan. 12, 2011 that the ERs must be authenticated first.

Only if these are found genuine should the Board of Canvassers reconvene for another round of canvassing, he said.

If the returns are found to be fake, the board will recount the ballots instead.

”How can you re-canvass ERs, which, from the beginning, are suspected to be fake that led to the annulment of the proclamation of mayoralty candidate Joel Quiño, vice mayoralty candidate candidate Nanette Danggoy and all the candidates for municipal councilors?” Wagas said.

The candidates for councilor whose proclamation the Comelec also annulled are Tessa Cang, Joy Abing, Joy Ann Cabatingan, Wilfredo Calo, Homer Canen, Jose Cagang and Titing Oliverio.

Wagas said he and his lawyers will only agree to recanvass the ERs if these are authenticated. He promised to support a re-canvassing if the returns are found to be genuine.

He explained that doubts on whether the ERs are genuine came up when, out of the 34 clustered precincts, only 20 ERs appeared in the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines.

”The Smartmatic officials certified that 31 ERs did not match the source code and the serial numbers. Even the old Board of Canvassers testified that there were irregularities,” Wagas alleged.

Smartmatic was the supplier of the PCOS machines and software used in the May 2010 election, which was the first time the country automated the counting, canvassing and transmission of result.

Earlier Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI urged the Comelec to resolve the election issue in Compostela because the delivery of basic services has been affected.

Quino earlier pointed out that he was proclaimed the winner in the May 10, 2010 election because he won by more than 2,000 votes against Wagas, and there was no protest from the camp of Wagas at the time of their proclamation on May 11, 2010.

The annulment of the proclamation of Quiño, Dangoy and the municipal councilors was served only after they had taken their oath of office on June 30, 2010, and the Municipal Council had conducted their first session. (PNA) DCT/LOR/EB/gb

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