FOR being “insufficient in form and content,” the Second Division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has dismissed the election protest filed by defeated mayoral candidate Alexander Lopez against incumbent Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna and affirmed her landslide victory in the May 2022 elections.
According to the ruling issued by the poll body, Lopez’ protest was dismissed for being “insufficient in form and content”, meaning, Lopez was unable to provide any credible evidence for his allegations, said Lacuna’s spokesperson Atty. Princess Abante.
In junking the protest of Lopez, the Comelec Second Division stated that “the alleged documented massive acts of vote buying… are bare assertions uncorroborated by any other proof, whether testimonial or documentary”.
Lacuna received 538, 595 votes in the May 9 polls, giving her a landslide victory against Lopez who received only 166, 908 votes.
Abante said that Mayor Lacuna welcomed the Comelec ruling, saying she hopes that this finally puts the matter to rest. The decision was also welcomed by Vice Mayor Yul Servo and city administrator Bernie Ang, among others.
“While it is Mr. Lopez’ right to file a protest as he sees fit, the reality is that the people of the City of Manila have overwhelmingly expressed and placed their support for the current, duly elected city administration. All the voters in our city deserve to have their collective choice, recognized and given due course for the remainder of the incumbent’s term,” she said.
“Furthermore, we are grateful that the Comelec Second Division has also recognized and ruled accordingly, that these allegations of electoral fraud, irregularities, and anomalies remain just that—allegations that have no actual proof. No evidence has been found to support any of these claims,” the mayor added.
Lacuna also said it is now time for everyone concerned to get back to work to help the citizens of the City of Manila, as there are more serious issues and problems on hand that affect their livelihoods and quality of life.
“I strongly suggest that Mr. Lopez does the same thing in his present capacity”, said Lacuna.
Lopez had filed an election protest on May 23, 2022 but the Comelec Second Division ruled to dismiss it on the following grounds: there were no actual affidavits from voters supporting Lopez’ allegations that their votes were miscounted, disregarded, nor that they actually voted for Lopez but somehow their votes were counted for Lacuna; there were no affidavits from witnesses, whether voters or poll watchers supporting Lopez’ allegations of numerous and widespread electoral fraud, nor for his allegations of instances of vote-buying.
Furthermore, while a discrepancy was found between the number of registered voters (886,133) and the number of actual voters (846,179), Lopez was unable to prove that such a discrepancy was due to electoral fraud.
In its ruling, the Comelec Second Division pointed out that even if the discrepancy of 31,608 votes was presumed to have been miscounted and then added to the votes Lopez received, it still would not overturn the results of the elections.
The Comelec described the lead of Lacuna as ‘massive’, adding that even if all the alleged unaccounted/missing ballots are credited to Lopez, the same cannot cover the lead of incumbent Mayor Lacuna who won the elections by a margin of 371, 687 votes.
“Undeniably, the protestant (Lopez) employed general and unsubstantiated averments without particularly specifying the circumstances relating to the alleged electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities,” the poll body ruled.