Comelec-Cebu says no ground to hold special poll in Cordova

CEBU CITY -- The provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here found no grounds to hold a special election in a town where the defeated mayoralty candidate complained of massive irregularities during the May 9 elections.

Lawyer Jerome Brillantes, acting Provincial Elections Supervisor of Comelec-Cebu, said the conduct of elections in Cordova town, Cebu was peaceful and orderly.

“So far, we have not received any complaints of election-related violence from Cordova. The elections there were peaceful and orderly,” said Brillantes.

Brillantes said there were vote-counting machines that malfunctioned in some polling precincts in the town but they were immediately addressed and did not prevent voters from casting their ballots.

Outgoing Mayor Mary Therese ‘Teche’ Sitoy-Cho on Monday, May 16, announced her plans to contest the outcome of the election after she received reports of purported irregularities during the election day.

Cho lost in her reelection bid to incumbent councilor Cesar ‘Didoy’ Suan.

Cho accused Suan of massive vote-buying. The outgoing mayor also alleged that some residents were not able to vote after their names were not found in the master-list of registered voters.

Cho also alleged that unregistered voters were also able to vote using the names of other people.

Cho likewise questioned the presence of Barangay officials in police precincts.

Brillantes explained that one of the grounds for holding special elections in an area is when the actual elections were halted due to force majure.

The Comelec-Cebu has yet to receive a copy of Sitoy-Cho’s electoral protest.

Brillantes advised the Cordova mayor to file her electoral protest before the proper forum.

“For electoral protests, since they are a municipality, they must file it before the Regional Trial Court that has jurisdiction over their town,” said Brillantes.

Brillantes added disqualification cases should be filed before Comelec en banc, and not in local election offices.

The Sitoys have been ruling the town for the past five decades before Suan pulled off the victory.

Citing alleged massive vote-buying, Cho filed a motion to suspend Suan’s proclamation.

Suan, however, was proclaimed a day after the election.