THE Commission on Elections has dismissed the election protest filed by former Makati City acting Mayor Romulo Peña Jr. against elected Mayor Abigail Binay for lack of evidence.
In an order dated Sept. 20, the Comelec’s First Division, composed of Commissioners Christian Robert Lim, Luie Tito Guia and Rowena Amelia Guanzon, ruled that Peña’s protest “suffered from insufficiency in form and content.”
The order stated that even considering any of the versions of the election protest filed by Peña, “the same still suffers from the same flaw as it “failed to indicate a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts.”
It further stated that Peña failed to indicate the particular precincts where alleged errors in the scanning of the ballots or appreciation thereof by the vote counting machines took place.
Peña also failed to state any specific details on the ballots allegedly rejected by the machine or precincts where ballots were allegedly prepared and fed by people other than the voters.
The order stated “the allegations that votes cast do not accurately reflect the election receipts, vote-buying, harassment and intimidation allegedly done by the protestee, and vote-shaving should be considered as general statements as they are devoid of specific instances where these happened or how these took place.”
“The use by the Protestant of phrases like numerous instances, in some instances, in one instance, etc. reflects that these statements of irregularities are broad and general in description, which the law does not allow.”
The camp of Mayor Binay thanked the Comelec for coming up with the decision, thus conforming her victory in the May 9 elections.
“Mayor Abby is thankful to the Comelec for seeing the protest filed by Peña for what it is, a sham pleading filed by a losing candidate who could not accept the reality of being soundly rejected by the Makati citizenry,” said Binay’s lawyer Daniel Subido.
“Mayor Abby is determined to fix the mess left by Peña and restore the highest standard of service to the Makati citizens. One should only look at the deplorable condition of the Ospital ng Makati during the brief stint of Peña’s administration, which is now being addressed with great difficulty considering its magnitude,” he added.
Two months ago, Binay’s camp filed a motion asking the poll body to dismiss the election protest of Peña, who she claimed, failed to prove his allegations.
They pointed out Peña’s “failure to provide a detailed specification of the alleged acts or omission in his complaint to show the electoral frauds, anomalies, or irregularities in the protested precincts.”
Days after the May 9 elections, Pena accused the camp of Binay as the persons behind the electoral fraud and asked the poll body to declare a failure of election in the city.
Pena’s supporters also claimed that Pena did not get a single vote in at least three schools that served as polling precincts in the city’s second district, known to residents as his bailiwick.
Binay received 153,487 votes over the 137,803 votes of Pena, who ran under the ruling Liberal Party, the political party of former President Benigno Aquino III.
Her running mate Monique Lagdameo was also proclaimed winner with 165,894 votes over Karla Mercado, running mate of Peña and daughter of former vice mayor Ernesto Mercado, with 103,209 votes.
Abigail, who was in her third and final term as a lawmaker, is the fourth in the Binay family who was elected mayor in Makati. First was her father the former Vice President Jejomar Binay followed by her mother Elenita, and the last was her brother Jejomar Erwin.
Her sister Nancy Binay is an incumbent senator.
Junjun was supposed to run for re-election in the city but his dismissal order from the Office of the Ombudsman over allegations of irregularities in the city prompted the Binay family and the United Nationalist Alliance, the political party of the former vice president, to field Abigail.
Makati, a city with more than 370,000 registered voters, has been a stronghold of Binays since the former vice president was appointed by then President Corazon Aquino as its officer-in-charge in 1986.