Defeated mayor cries poll fraud in Cordova town

Published May 16, 2022, 4:00 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – For Cordova town incumbent mayor Mary Therese Sitoy-Cho, the fight is not yet over.

Sitoy-Cho is set to file a protest before the Commission of Elections (Comelec) to question the outcome of the May 9 elections in Cordova where she lost in her re-election bid.

Sitoy-Cho lost to Didoy Suan by 4,170 votes. She got 17,052 votes while the latter received 21,222 votes. The outcome led to the eventual proclamation of Suan as the winner.

Sitoy-Cho alleged that there were irregularities committed during the election.

On Monday morning, Cho’s supporters trooped to the Bantayan Municipal Hall and asked the incumbent mayor to act on the alleged anomalies.

“I will stand up for you,” Cho told the crowd.

In a press briefing, Cho revealed that her camp actually filed a motion to suspend the proclamation of Suan but the local Comelec office went on to proclaim her opponent a day after the elections.

Before Suan’s proclamation, Cho said that they had already filed a motion seeking the disqualification of her opponent for allegedly engaging in vote-buying.

Cho said they will be filing more complaints after they learned that aside from massive vote-buying, there were other irregularities committed on Election Day.

Cho said there were allegations that some barangay captains were in polling precincts on the day of the election.

Some registered residents in various barangays were not able to vote because their names were not in the masterlist, Cho said.

Cho added some residents were able to vote multiple times in different barangays.

The outgoing mayor said they have pictures to prove the allegation.

“Naay wa butangi tinta ilang mga tudlo. Naa sad naka-experience pre-shaded ballots. Daghan sad nakabotar na wala Ilang names sa masterlist (Some didn’t have their nail stained with ink. Some experienced pre-shaded ballots and there were a lot who were able to vote even if they were not in the list,” said Cho.

Cho also complained that several ‘lumad (native) Cordovanhons’ didn’t find their names in the list and yet unregistered voters were able to vote using the names of other people.

“Why all of these happened? Because there was a connivance. The presence of barangay officials in polling precincts is already questionable,” Cho said.

Cho said that because of the nature of the complaints, a recount will not determine who the rightful winner is.

“I am not saying I am the winner and I cannot also say they are the winners because of the irregularities. If possible, there should be a special election but I don’t know the process. What we know is it takes too long (for a protest) to be resolved,” Cho said.

Cho said more than 100 residents have already filed an affidavit to back the alleged irregularities. Some of those who executed affidavits are supporters of other candidates, she said.

“They were the ones who reached out to me and I cannot turn my back on them,” said Cho.