Nicolas wins election protest in Malitbog, Minalabac

Minalabac, Camarines Sur—Municipal Trial Court Presiding Judge Elsa A. Mampo ordered to set aside and declared null and void the official proclamation of Pablito A. Renta as Punong Barangay of Malitbog, this town.

Malitbog, Minalabac, Camarines Sur
Malitbog, Minalabac, Camarines Sur
In its decision dated February 24, 2014, the court proclaimed and declared Romeo Barrameda Nicolas as the duly-elected Punong Barangay of Malitbog in the election held last October 28, 2013.

Nicolas, the court said, obtained a plurality votes of seven against his rival Renta, after the revision of ballots in his election protest case.

It will be recalled that in the election held last year, the Barangay Board of Canvassers proclaimed Renta as the winner.

In the Comelec count, Renta garnered 467 votes while protestant Nicolas garnered 454 votes.
The protestee, therefore has a margin of 13 votes.

Alleging irregularities, protestant Nicolas averred that in the counting, there were valid votes in his favor that were not credited to him.

He further claimed that under the neighborhood rule, at least four (4) votes must be credited to him. He explained that his name was allegedly written in the first space allotted for kagawads, while the space provided for punong barangay is left blank.

Further, the protestant also questioned alleged marked ballots, which were also credited in favor of the protestee

After the revision of the ballots, the court considered that the four claimed votes by the protestant must be credited in protestee’s favor.

Meanwhile, the protestant also contested 51 ballots that were credited to the protestee.
He alleged that the questioned ballots were marked or written only by one hand.

After the revision, the judge ruled that out of the contested 51 votes, 35 were found to be valid.
All told, the court ruled that the protestant who garnered 454 uncontested ballots will be credited with four more votes that he had rightfully claimed. The protestant has therefore a total of 458 votes.

On the other hand, the protestee with 416 uncontested votes should be credited with the 35 votes found valid from 51 ballots contested by the protestant.

Hence, the protestee has a total of 451 votes, the court added.

Based on the appreciation of official ballots, protestant Nicolas garnered a total of 458 votes as against protestee’s 451, or a margin or plurality of seven votes.

The protestant in this case can avail of the remedy of appeal to the Commission on Election, the report said.

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