COMELEC asks Albee to answer election protest

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The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has summoned mayor-elect Alfredo “Albee” Benitez to answer the election protest lodged by defeated Mayor Evelio Leonardia.

Arnold Dizon, Acting Division Chief of the Judicial Records Division of the Electoral Contests Adjudication Department (ECAD), confirmed that a precautionary protection order was also issued to local election officers.

He added that the City Treasurer of Bacolod City was also ordered to preserve and protect the integrity and safety of contested ballot boxes and other election documents and paraphernalia.

Dizon did not disclose exact dates when asked when the summons were issued.

Leonardia filed an election protest against, Benitez, his lone opponent in May 9 elections, alleging massive vote-buying and the presence of bogus voters.

In his petition, Leonardia sought for a manual recount of the votes in all 450 clustered precincts, as well as a declaration of “failure of elections” and the holding of special polls by the COMELEC. Benitez obtained 171,893 votes versus Leonardia’s 107,447 votes in the mayoralty race..

But despite the election protest, Benitez will still assume office as the duly elected mayor of Bacolod City on June 30.

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