BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: The Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has set the manual recount of votes cast during last year’s gubernatorial contest here on December 1.
The Comelec also ordered former Vice Gov. Jose Gambito, who sought for the recounting of votes, to pay the third and last equal installment of P237,333 before November 17 as cash deposit to start the revisions of protested ballots next month.
The local Comelec office here was directed to facilitate the transfer of the questioned ballots of some 379 precincts in the province which are now in the Comelec’s central office in Intramuros, Manila.
The recount was scheduled on October 27 but was reset to allow Gambito to pay in full his cash deposit of P712,000 to defray the expenses for the recount.
The latest Comelec order on October 17 stemmed from a July 2 resolution which affirmed Gambito’s election protest against Gov. Ruth Padilla asserting that the true will of the electorate must prevail over mere technicalities.
Blaming the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS), Gambito said the machines’ results were “well planned and pre-programmed automated ‘misscanning’ and ‘miscounting’ of the shaded ovals of the ballots representing (his votes)”.
“This has cost me my election victory,” Gambito said.
In her motion, Padilla asked the poll body for the dismissal of Gambito’s election protest against her.
She said Gambito failed to cite detailed “acts of omissions” to prove election frauds, anomalies or irregularities.
“The allegations in the election protest were borne from self-serving arguments as they were couched in general terms,” Padilla said. She even described the case as “bare, general and scattershot allegations”.
However, the Comelec’s Second Division decided in favor of Gambito’s election protest.
In its order, the Comelec said that “substantial allegations impugning irregularities in the procedure which the PCOS machine operates must not be simply disregarded” due to technicalities.
Padilla of the Nacionalista Party won the gubernatorial race after obtaining 69,637 votes as against the 50,482 of Gambito of the United Nationalist Alliance based on PCOS results.