(File photo)

The two candidates running for mayor in Araceli got the same number of votes in this week’s local election and the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) is expected to pass a resolution that will employ flipping a coin to resolve the dispute.

Commission on Elections (COMELEC) provincial spokesperson Jomel Ordas said the MBOC may toss a coin to resolve the impasse between rivals Sue Cudilla and incumbent Mayor Noel Beronio who got the same 3,495 votes from the town’s 7,238 voters out of 9,125 registered.

The municipal office of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has called both parties for the toss coin tomorrow, tentatively at 3 p.m. at the Araceli Municipal Hall.

Ordas said breaking ties through coin flipping is allowed under Section 240 of the Omnibus Election Code.

“May resolusyon na gagawin ang MBOC, pagkakasunduan nila ‘yan… ng mga kandidato at saka ‘yong board. Depende kung kelan gagawin ‘yong toss coin kasi five days ‘yong… within five days dapat ma-resolve na. Papag-usapan nila ‘yan kung okay ba sa kanila na ngayon na o hindi, kung kelan ba, basta hindi lalagpas ng limang araw,” Ordas said Thursday.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, “in cases where two or more candidates received the same number of votes the board of canvassers, after this fact in its minutes, shall by resolution, upon five days notice to all the tied candidates, hold a special public meeting at which the board of canvassers shall proceed to the drawing of lots of the candidates who have tied and shall proclaim as elected the candidates who may be favored by luck, and the candidates so proclaimed shall have the right to assume office in the same manner as if he had been elected by plurality of vote.”

Ordas said it is important that the method that will be used to break the tie is acceptable to the candidates and should not be taken to mean that their rights to contest the election are deprived.

“Dapat agreeable sa kanila ang pag-toss ng coin at di mangangahulugan ‘yon na di na sila puwedeng mag-protesta,” he pointed out.

In an interview with Palawan News, Cudilla said she is ready to leave the decision “to luck” if she will become mayor of Araceli because there is “no other option.”

“Sa tingin ko wala naman po akong option talaga kasi ‘yon na rin lang talaga ‘yong sinasabi ng batas. So mag-abide na lang po talaga siguro kung ano ba talaga ‘yong ano… sasabihin ng COMELEC,” she said.

She said out of Araceli’s 13 barangays, she lost eight votes in 12. The votes in the last barangay were not counted on time because of the defective SD card.

The election returns for the last barangay, she said, were only canvassed on Thursday where two ballots were marked “rejected” when the vote counting machine failed to accept them.

“Ito ‘yong binasa kanina na nag-give naman ng tie. Naka-minutes talaga na rejected sila dahil hindi kinain kasi nakita nila na parang may ano siya… may guhit ata,” she pointed out.

Ordas explained that a ballot will only be spurned if the VCM will still reject it after four tries.

“Apat na orientation, babali-baliktarin ang dalawang balota na ‘yon, kapag hindi pa rin kinain ay wala na mga ‘yon. Susulatan na lang ng rejected ‘yon. May procedure kasi na kapag ang balota ay hindi tinanggap sa unang subo mo, baliktarin mo at subo uli. Tapos ikutin mo, isubo mo ulit, baliktad, subo ulit… apat na klase ng orientation kapag hindi pa rin kinain, rejected na,” he said.

Cudilla who lost to Beronio in 2016 said she had just been notified by the MBOC to go to the canvassing center regarding the tie.