THE Supreme Court (SC) has junked a petition filed by a losing candidate in Antique’s mayoral polls who assailed the dismissal of the election protest that he filed because of alleged glitches in the operation of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and “strange pattern of votes” in last year’s elections.
By dismissing the petition, the High Court effectively affirmed the victory of Mayor Rony Molina of Antique in the 2013 mayoral elections.
In a full court decision, the SC dismissed for lack of merit the petition filed by Fernando Corvera seeking the nullification of an order, dated July 8, 2013, issued by Judge Adriano Savillo of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of San Jose de Buenavista, Antique, Branch 12.
In the May 14, 2013 elections, the Municipal Board of Canvassers of Antique proclaimed Rony Molina as the duly elected mayor of the said town after obtaining 11,459 votes, the highest number of votes cast in the cited polls. Corvera came in second with 11,412 votes.
Citing alleged glitches and the strange pattern of votes obtained by the candidates in the Certificate of Canvass, Corvera filed an election protest with the RTC, which dismissed the case.
Corvera’s subsequent pleas to reverse the said ruling were denied, prompting him to bring his case to the High Court.
The SC underlined that Corvera should have appealed the ruling of the trial court to the Commission on Elections (Comelec), citing previous administrative orders clarifying the mode of appeal that should be taken in such cases.
“[T]he petitioner (Corvera) attempts to present allegedly legitimate and novel issues which to his mind, only this Court can pass upon. A perusal of the issues shows that these matters… can be properly addressed by the Comelec on appeal,” the ruling averred.
The SC also cited that Corvera, after allowing the period to file an appeal with the Comelec to lapse, opted instead to file a petition for certiorari before the High Court.
“It is the rule that a petition for certiorari is not a substitute for a lost appeal,” the SC said.
“In any event, the Court finds no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Judge Savillo in issuing the Order dated July 8, 2013,” the SC ruled.