GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/August 17) – The Electoral Commission (Comelec) has rejected a petition by the lawyer for the former mayor of Cotabato City, Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi, seeking to annul the results in certain voting centers during the elections of May 9 in this city.
Mohammad Ali Matabalao won with 29,818 votes, overthrowing Guiani-Sayadi who garnered 22,939 votes.
By rejecting Guiani-Sayadi’s request, the second division of Comelec ruled on Monday August 15 that it had no jurisdiction over it.
He specifies that the case falls within the jurisdiction of Comelec en banc.
Guiani-Sayadi filed the case with Comelec en banc but withdrew it and instead filed it with the Second Chamber, which ultimately dismissed his motion for lack of jurisdiction.
In her protest, the former mayor asked the polling body to annul the results in 36 consolidated constituencies of barangays Poblacion II, Poblacion VII, Bagua II, Kalangalan Mother and Kalangalan I.
Comelec pursued its application for judicial review and recount in 17 precincts grouped into barangays Rosary Heights I, XIII and IX. A “preliminary conference hearing” has been set for August 31.
After receiving a copy of Comelec’s decision, Matabalao said he firmly believed that truth and justice would prevail over what really happened in the elections.
Matabalao won the election along with the city’s vice mayor Butch Abu and seven city councilors who ran under the United Bangsamoro Justice Party, the party formed by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The electoral body also dismissed election protests filed against winning candidates for city council for non-payment of filing fees and necessary cash deposits. He also cited that some of the petitioners “are not genuine interests in an election protest case.”
Guiani-Sayadi allies Japal Guiani III, Danda Juanday and Abdilla Lim joined their party comrades in protesting the poll results outside the Comelec even though they won city council seats.
In the same ruling, the polling body said it would continue to hear the case filed by city council candidate Reynaldo Ridao, as the sole Protestant. Ridao ranks 15th in the final May 9 poll tally. (Rommel G. Rebollido/MindaNews)