LA CASTELLANA POLL PROTEST: Court denies petition to open Comelec records

La Castellana Mayor Rhumyla Nicor-Mangilimutan told reporters that the court affirmed her victory in the May 13, 2019 elections. (Dolly Yasa)

By: Dolly Yasa

BACOLOD City – The Regional Trial Court here affirmed the victory of Mayor Rhumyla Nicor- Mangilimutan of La Castellana, Negros Occidental by junking the petition of the latter’s rival to open records of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Mangilimutan said that her opponent in the May 13, 2019 elections, Chad Feria, filed the petition aside from the recount petition he also filed against the lady mayor.

Mangilimutan was declared by the Comelec as winner of the mayoralty race in La Castellana town during the midterm election with a margin of 3,000 ballots over Feria.

In the recount, Mangilimutan said the court affirmed her victory with the same lead. She is still waiting for the official resolution of the court, she told reporters here.

But Feria insisted that there was fraud in the elections and petitioned the opening of the Comelec records.

In his petition, Feria said that while the revision of all the precincts was completed, there is still the need to open pertinent election documents.

He claimed that election inspectors assisted illiterates, senior citizens, and disabled voters more than what is required under the law and that they came to know of this fact only after filing of the election protest.

In denying the petition, RTC Judge Frances Guanzon said Feria’s petition lacked legal merit.

The court noted that the petitioner did not cite specific names of illiterates, senior citizens, and disabled who voted. He also failed to identify the members of the board of election inspectors and their precincts.

“We cannot allow such motion based on flimsy averments to prosper otherwise, as borrowed in the words of the Second Division of the Comelec in the case of Roberto Eusebio vs Vico Sotto, the whole election process will deteriorate into an endless streams of crabs pulling at each other racing to disembark from the water,” the court decision read.