SC declines to stop ouster of Quezon City barangay chair

July 6, 2012 9:27 pm 

MANILA, July 6 – The Supreme Court (SC) has declined to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) sought by a barangay chairman in Quezon City who was ordered by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to be removed from office after he lost in an electoral protest filed against him.

This was after the Comelec ruled that Von Rommel Yalong, incumbent Barangay chairman of N.S. Amoranto in Quezon City's District 1 must be ousted from his office.

In a five-page resolution of the SC en banc, instead of issuing a TRO, it merely ordered the Comelec and Yalong's opponent, Exequiel Ligon, to file their respective comments.

In the resolution dated April 17, 2012, the Comelec denied the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by Yalong.

The Comelec en banc affirmed, with modification, the resolution of the Comelec First Division dated Oct. 3, 2011 declaring Yalong's contender, Ligon, as the duly-elected punong barangay of N.S. Amoranto during the Oct. 25, 2010 barangay elections.

Based on the final count, Ligon won by a margin of 52 votes.

Those subjected for appreciation by the Comelec were the ballots from nine revised clustered precincts as contested by Ligon, the results of the three unrevised clustered precincts, and the ballots found by the Comelec as valid.

Meanwhile, the Comelec has deducted the number of votes garnered from the invalidated ballots, hence bringing the total votes received by Ligon to 731 and that of Yalong to 679.

In his MR, Yalong said that the Comelec's First Division erred when it included in its computation the results of the three unrevised precincts.

He argued that the First Division committed an error in the reappreciation of certain ballots which it found to be marked and invalid, cutting his lead in favor of Ligon.

However, the Comelec en banc ruled that the First Division committed no error in the computation of the results.

"For where an election protest is involved, as in this case, the combined results of the revision of ballots ordered by the trial court and the results of the voting in the unopened ballot boxes from the uncontested voting centers became the proper basis for ascertaining the results of the contested election," the Comelec resolution said.

The poll body noted that Yalong failed to specify the actual ballots which should not have been considered marked or invalid.

The Comelec resolution was signed by all of the six members of the Comelec en banc, namely: Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr., Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco, Christian Robert Lim, Lucenito Tagle, and Elias Yusoph. (PNA) scs/PTR

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