Sep 27, 2020

Petition to nullify Palawan poll results filed

(From L-R) Makabayan Palawan coordinator Absie Eligio, Palawan NGO Network, Inc. program manager Lorie Cagatulla, and 2019 gubernatorial candidate Art Ventura are shown in this photo during their filing on May 28 of the petition rejecting the result of the 2019 midterms polls in Palawan citing defective vote counting machines (VCMs) and SD cards and vote buying.

A petition to nullify the results of the elections in Palawan was filed Tuesday before the provincial Commission on Elections (COMELEC).

The petitioners, gubernatorial candidate Art Ventura together with Makabayan Palawan coordinator Absie Eligio and Palawan NGO Network, Inc. (PNNI) program manager Lorie Cagatulla, submitted their petition to Jomel Ordas, spokesperson of COMELEC-Palawan.

In their petition, the three wanted the results nullified citing vote buying, defective vote counting machines (VCMs) and SD cards.

The two-page petition was signed by 38 signatories led by Ventura, Eligio, Cagatulla, PNNI executive director Atty. Robert Chan, Balabac Sangguniang Bayan member Phoebe Tulali, San Vicente 2019 mayoral candidate Michelle Fox, and Cynthia Sumagaysay-del Rosario of One Palawan and Save Palawan Movement.

Ventura said they will also forward the petition to the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Office of the President as soon as possible.

“Everybody has a concern, specially COMELEC, we will also give the petition to the office of the president because he has a word for vote buying. I know the president will walk his talk, hindi puro salita lang. Let’s see what will happen,” Ventura said.

He said they are expecting a good result after sending the petitions to the respective offices.

“Of course, we are expecting a good result. Tingin niyo ba may dayaan o wala? Kayo na ang sumagot nyan. Pero sa karanasan ko, mayroong [dayaan], hindi lang isang kandidato,” he added.

Ventura, however, refused to name names.

“Yes, of course we’re going to file cases, we are doing the legal process pa. But from this day, batas na, hindi na kami. Kung ako lang, alam ko suntok sa buwan pero hindi ko puwedeng pabayaan ang mga supporters ko na tumaguyod sa akin noong nakaraang eleksyon,” he said.

Ordas said they will send the copy of the petition to the law department of the poll body.

“It will be the law department that will have to act on this. Kung may makita sila i-a-assign ‘yan sa abogado ng COMELEC para mag-conduct ng preliminary investigation,” Ordas said.

Canvassing of the election results in the province was delayed because of 48 defective SD cards.

“Sapagkat, kapansin-pansin ang lubhang tagal ng paglabas ng resulta sa mga bayan ng Aborlan, Narra, Balabac, Cuyo, at Bataraza kung saan may inaitalang mga problema sa VCMs/SD cards,” the petition noted.

The petition of Ventura’s camp is the second complaint received by the COMELEC in connection with the 2019 national and local elections.

On May 13, former Puerto Princesa City Mayor Edward Hagedorn filed a complaint about vote buying against incumbent mayor Lucilo Bayron and his group, including newly-elected 3rd Legislative District Rep. Gil Acosta Jr.

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