Poll losers pile up 62 electoral protests at Comelec

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The Commission on Elections (Comelec) chief Sixto Brillantes Jr. on Friday revealed that only 62 electoral protests were filed at the commission.

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“We are way over the deadline and we only have 62 protest cases, involving provincial, city, and regional positions,” the poll chief disclosed.

Based on the Comelec—Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD) records in 2010, the poll body received 96 electoral protests.

Brillantes explained that according to Comelec Resolution 9720, an election protest can only be filed within 10 days following the day of proclamation of the winning candidate.
He also added that the recent amendment of the resolution now makes the election protests cheaper and faster.

“The Constitution mandates that this Commission provide procedural rules that will afford litigants in an Automated Election System [AES] an accessible, inexpensive, and speedy remedy,” the resolution stated.

Based on the new rules, the Comelec provides protesters the option to use the compact flash (CF) cards instead of acquiring all concerned ballot boxes with the official ballots.

“They don’t have to spend to bring the ballot boxes here [Comelec main office] and we revising the ballots. If they say we will just do with the decryption, we will just look at the ballots’ picture images for the revision,” the poll chief explained.

In cases of recounts of actual ballots, the resolution noted that protesters need to pay a fee of P3,000 per precinct. In details, the payment is to compensate the honorarium for the Chairman of the recount committee, amounting to P1,000; for recorder, P500; recount ballot box custodian, P480; supplies and materials, P400; storage, P85; overall supervisor, P100; warehouse ballot box custodian, P50; Four ECAD security personnel, P35 each, total of P140; two drivers, P35 each, total of P70; two organic security personnel, P35 each, total of P70; two police personnel, P35 each, total of P70; and photo copy machine watchers,
P35.

As for the decryption of the Compact Flash (CF) cards, the cost shall only be a total of P500 per CF card to pay for the electricity, P100; computer and printer use, P50; and honoraria for the Comelec—Election Records and Statistics Department personnel, P350.

“It is cheaper and faster in the sense that we are experiencing delays in the retrieval of the ballot boxes and have problems in the storage . . . Now, the protestant can dispenses by simply choosing the option of going into decryption and waving the physical examination of the ballots,” the Comelec head pointed out.

Meanwhile, the commission en banc retained the 2010 polls rule that the protestor needs to prove the enough basis to carry on with the case in the first 20 percent of the total number of precincts placed under protest.

“On the basis of the 20 percent, we will determine whether there is the basis for the protest or none. Otherwise, we will dismiss the protest,” the elections chief reiterated.

Johanna M. Sampan

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