Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Comelec ousts Padaca (Saddening but not surprising, says Isabela gov)

By Kristine L. Alave, Villamor Visaya Jr.
Inquirer Northern Luzon, Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:19:00 12/09/2009

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Elections, Local authorities

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091209-240949/Comelec-ousts-Padaca

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Tuesday ordered Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca to vacate her post to give way to former Gov. Benjamin Dy, saying the latter won in its recount by a thousand votes.

The Comelec Second Division ruled in favor of Dy almost three years after the 2007 gubernatorial election.

Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said Padaca should leave Isabela’s top position because Dy was the rightful winner.

“Wherefore, the Commission Second Division resolves … to grant the instant petition, to annul the proclamation of protestee, and to direct the protestee to vacate the office of the provincial governor of Isabela and relinquish the same to protestant,” the division said in its decision.

Dy received a total of 199,435 votes, while Padaca got 198,384 votes, a lead of only 1,051 votes, according to the Comelec’s appreciation of votes.

After Ferrer read the dispositive portion of the decision, Dy and his supporters clapped.

Padaca did not attend the promulgation. Her lawyer immediately left the session hall but said the Padaca camp would appeal the case.

“I am glad that the Comelec saw the basis of glaring election fraud in Isabela as shown by markings on the ballots,” Dy said in a statement distributed immediately after the promulgation.

In his electoral protest, Dy said there were thousands of ballots marked for his opponent with the same handwriting. The Dy camp protested the ballots from 13 Isabela towns, including the provincial capital of Ilagan.

Padaca was declared governor in 2007 after getting 17,007 more votes than Dy.

30-year hold ended

She ended the Dy family’s almost 30-year hold of the top leadership in the province when she defeated then reelectionist Gov. Faustino Dy Jr., Benjamin’s brother, in the 2004 election.

After graduating magna cum laude from the Lyceum of the Philippines in 1984, she worked as a radio commentator for Radyo Bombo.

Padaca, a 2008 Ramon Magsaysay awardee who is with the Liberal Party (LP), will seek a third term next year against another member of the Dy clan, Isabela Rep. Faustino Dy III, a brother of Faustino and Benjamin.

Benjamin Dy, a known ally of the Arroyo administration, is the official candidate of Lakas-Kampi-CMD in the May 2010 elections for a mayoral race in the province.

True will of people

In an interview on Tuesday, Dy said the Comelec order reflected the “true will of the people.”

He said he would file a motion for execution, pending Padaca’s appeal, so he could assume the seat.

He added that he was vindicated by what he called “mind conditioning tactics” of Padaca, referring to the latter’s series of press conferences and statements regarding the recount case.

“I cried but [these were] tears of joy,” he said.


Padaca was unfazed, saying she would seek reconsideration.

“It is saddening but not surprising because we have received information as early as Monday about it,” Padaca told the Inquirer.

Asked for her reaction should Dy immediately claim her post, Padaca said: “That would be illegal. Before they claim their right to the post, they should first file a motion to execute pending appeal.”

Padaca said she and her lawyers would continue to follow the legal processes.

Gamu Mayor Fernando Cumigad said Padaca’s allies would continue to support her, saying he could not believe that Padaca cheated in the 2007 election.

Vice Gov. Ramon Reyes said the legal fight was far from over.

Cauayan Mayor Caesar Dy said he and his other relatives hugged and cried as they received news of the Comelec decision.

“We were overjoyed and on the verge of tears. We have been waiting for this decision for so long and this proved that [Benjamin] was the true winner,” said Mayor Dy.

The truth has prevailed “over Padaca’s propaganda in the media,” Dy III said.

Bulacan recount

This is the second high-profile recount in the last two weeks. The Second Division last week ruled that Roberto Pagdanganan of Lakas-Kampi-CMD was the winner in the 2007 Bulacan gubernatorial race.

It also ordered the removal from power of Gov. Joselito Mendoza, a former Lakas stalwart but has since transferred to LP.

In its Dec. 1 ruling, the poll body said the recount showed Pagdanganan garnered a total of 342,295 votes against Mendoza’s 337,974 votes for a 4,321 margin.


Next week, Ferrer hinted that the division may be ready to rule on the electoral fraud case filed by losing Pampanga candidate Lilia Pineda against Gov. Eddie Panlilio.

Panlilio, who is on temporary leave from his priestly duties, also filed a counter-protest encompassing all precincts in the province.

Big surprise

Ferrer said the Comelec had a “big surprise” in store next week. He did not identify the case involved, although he noted that the division was expected to rule on the Pineda-Panlilio case in the next few days.

Ferrer said the poll body was not partial to administration allies in the contested positions, following the removal of anti-Arroyo politicians in power. “I don’t know about that,” he said.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091209-240949/Comelec-ousts-Padaca

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