MANILA, Philippines - The Commission on Election (Comelec) on Tuesday annulled the proclamation of Isabela Governor Grace Padaca in favor Benjamin Dy, who had protested the results of the 2007 elections.
After a recount of votes, the second division of Comelec ruled that that Dy got 199,435 votes against Padaca's 198,384, or a lead of 1,051 votes.
Padaca was proclaimed winner in the gubernatorial race in 2007 with a lead of 17,007 votes over Dy.
Benjamin Dy is the second member of the entrenched political dynasty that Padaca had defeated. In 2004, Padaca defeated re-electionist Governor Faustino Dy Jr., ending the 3-decade rule of the clan in Isabela.
Alleging that Padaca’s camp resorted to massive cheating, Benjamin filed a petition for a recount of votes, involving 683 ballot boxes from 12 towns.
"Thousands of ballots with the same handwriting in favor of my political opponent in several contested precincts were also presented that deprived my candidacy of the needed votes to win in the 2007 election,” said Dy in a press release distributed to Comelec reporters.
The poll body has directed Padaca "to vacate the Office of the Provincial Governor of Isabela and relinquish the same to Dy." Dy’s camp will be filing for a motion for the immediate execution of the Comelec order.
Lawyer Maria Donna Guia Lerona-Camitan, counsel of Padaca, said that they will be filing for a motion for reconsideration, and request the Comelec not to remove Padaca from her office immediately.
She told reporters that the Comelec decision did not surprise their camp; it was a "confirmed fear" for them.
Padaca is running for re-election as governor in 2010, against another member of the Dy family.
The second division of the Comelec last week also unseated Bulacan Governor Joselito “Jon-jon" Mendoza in favor Roberto Pagdanganan. Mendoza’s lawyer alleged that a post-proclamation tampering of ballots was conducted to make it appear that Mendoza lost in the recount.
The same division is expected to decide this week the protest filed by former Lilia Pineda against Pampanga Governor Panlilio. (Newsbreak)