Dumaguete City kagawad loses poll protest due to technicality

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The Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) Second Division in Intramuros, Manila has dismissed the instant appeal of a losing candidate for the position of barangay kagawad (village councilor) in Dumaguete City due to her failure to file the Notice of Appeal within the prescribed period.

The case stemmed from the protest initially filed before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) by then incumbent Taclobo barangay kagawad Jocelyn Z. Ombos against newly-elected councilor Enrique S. Oira, which was resolved in the latter’s favor.

Records show that MTCC Branch 1 presiding Judge Dinah B. Tabada-Chu ordered the dismissal of the protest filed by Ombos against Oira last June 8. Both parties received a copy of the decision on June 13.

Instead of filing a Notice of Appeal consistent with the rules of procedure in election contests before the courts involving elective municipal and barangay officials and the Comelec Rules of Procedure, Ombos filed a Motion for Reconsideration on June 14, which was eventually denied by the trial court in its order dated June 19.

It was only on June 28 that Ombos filed her Notice of Appeal and settled the corresponding court appeal fee.

Considering that a motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading, the June 14 motion for reconsideration of Ombos did not interrupt the period prescribed by the rules to file a requisite Notice of Appeal.

It said that Ombos only had five days from receipt to file the notice but the notice of appeal was filed only on June 28, or 15 days from receipt of the June 8 order of the MTCC.

Thus, premises considered, the Comelec 2nd division resolved to dismiss the instant appeal. Presiding commissioner Luietito F. Guia penned the decision.

Oira won by only two votes against Ombos who landed in the eighth position.

Meanwhile, the camp of newly-elected barangay kagawad of Looc, Sheila Mae Catada, awaits a resolution from the MTCC on the recount filed by Anna Marie Larena who lost by only one vote to Catada.

According to Catada, two more votes were added to her name in the recount. (PNA)