The Regional Trial Court Branch 40 has dismissed the election contest filed by defeated Sibulan mayoralty candidate Emmanuel Diputado against the elected mayor Marcela Bartoces.
After the revision of the ballots, it was found out that Bartoces was leading not just by fourteen votes but by 42, Judge Gerardo Paguio Jr., in his decision dated January 17, said.
Diputado contested the election of Bartoces as mayor of Sibulan with a difference of only 14 votes, alleging that the results in nine clustered precincts did not reflect the true desire of the voters because the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines rejected the ballots through technical and mechanical errors.
Bartoces denied the so-called errors and filed a counter-protest, assailing the results of 18 clustered precincts.
The judge said that Bartoces had even stretched her lead over Diputado. The duly elected mayor benefitted from the revision of the ballots with 59 votes more, while Diputado has 31 votes more.*JG
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