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Rival of Nueva Viscaya guv Padilla loses election protest

Sep 4, 2015 @ 1:25

Nueva Vizcaya Gov. Ruth Padilla may now heave a sigh of relief after the Commission on Elections (Comelec) dismissed the election protest filed by a defeated rival in the 2013 elections.

Comelec Commissioners Al Parreño, Arthur Lim and Shariff Abas, in a decision, junked Jose Gambito’s allegations of massive fraud and vote-buying that he claimed caused his loss, according to a Philippine Star report.

Citing the Comelec decision, Padilla’s lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the votes claimed by Gambito during a recount of the ballots from the 76 precincts were not enough to overcome Padilla’s lead of 17,064.

Padilla, of the Nacionalista Party, garnered a total of 54,569 votes against the 37,505 votes of Gambito, who ran under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).

Gambito questioned the votes garnered by Padilla from 379 clustered precincts, citing massive vote-buying and misreading or miscalculation of votes due to faulty precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and defective or tampered compact flash cards.

To expedite the proceedings, the Comelec ordered Gambito to select 20 percent of the 379 clustered precincts for a recount to determine the merit of the election protest.

Macalintal said Gambito chose 76 clustered precincts, which he deemed could support his allegation of fraud and regularities.

The Comelec found that Gambito failed to prove any substantial recovery from these 76 clustered precincts to support his protest.

The possible maximum vote that Gambito could recover from the 76 pilot precincts was only 426 votes.

“Under the best-case scenario Padilla will still beat him by 16,527 votes,” Macalintal said.

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