NULLIFY ELECTION RESULTS IN N. VIZCAYA, GMA PARTYMATES  ASK

BAYOMBONG, NUEVA VIZCAYA,  JUNE 15, 2004
(STAR) 
By Charlie Lagasca  –  This province’s more than 300,000 inhabitants may end up not having congressional and local elective officials on June 30 if the Commission on Elections (Comelec) would decide in favor of the petition filed by President Arroyo’s local partymates here seeking the nullification of the election results in several towns for alleged irregularities.

Human rights lawyer Ernesto Salunat yesterday said their petition to nullify the results in the certificates of canvass from 11 out of the province’s 15 towns was already filed at the Comelec’s central office in Intramuros, Manila.

Outgoing Gov. Rodolfo Agbayani, whom the provincial board of canvassers proclaimed as congressman-elect here last month, along with other proclaimed provincial officials, were unfazed by the petition.

Salunat, also the former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Northern Luzon, said the Comelec is scheduled to deliberate on their petition next week. He said their party expects a resolution of their case before the termination of the terms of the present elective officials on June 30.

Salunat, along with other Lakas-CMD (Christian Muslim Democrats) party members here, including former general Thompson Lantion and former three-term board member Merrianthe Zuraek, ‘lost’ their gubernatorial, congressional and vice gubernatorial bids, respectively, in the last elections.

Salunat, however, claimed they were cheated of election victory due to alleged massive vote buying and other irregularities.

In their 30-page petition, obtained by The STAR yesterday, Salunat and Lantion claimed that their election rivals resorted to massive vote buying and other fraud to ensure their election victories.

However, Agbayani, a three-term governor who ran for congressman here under the opposition Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP), denied that their camp resorted to vote buying.

He said that the people have already spoken and that he obtained his congressional mandate fair and square.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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