Poll protest of Catarman mayoralty candidate junked

TACLOBAN CITY — The Regional Trial Court dismissed an election protest filed by a losing candidate for the mayoral position of Catarman, Northern Samar during the 9 May 2022 elections.

In an 11-page decision, Judge Armando Rosadiño of RTC Branch 20 dismissed the election protest of candidate Lope Dorado Jr. and declared valid the proclamation of Antet Rosales as mayor of Catarman, the provincial capital of Northern Samar.

The judge stressed that the credibility of witnesses presented by Dorado — who were his poll watchers — was questionable and self-serving, adding that ordinary voters, Commission on Elections representatives manning the poll and police authorities would have been an unbiased witness.

The court also considered as “insufficient” the report of Comelec Voter Identification Division which noted a disparity in the signature and fingerprint of voters that appeared in the Election Day Computerized Voters List and Voters Registration Records.

The court said that variation “could have been attributed to the passage of time and the persons’ increase in age.

“The registration of voters might have been done a long time ago and the said voters are perhaps already in advanced age which may possibly be the reason of differences in their signatures in the VRRRs as compared to those in the EDCVL,” the ruling stated.

The court added that if indeed there was a massive substituting of voters, it could have escaped the attention of the poll watchers of the protestant.

To recall, Dorado alleged that the election was fraught with irregularities and anomalies where some Vote Counting Machines either did not count votes that were for him or credited the votes that should have been for him to his political opponent.

He also alleged that some 3,199 ballots were not counted since a total of 53,855 valid ballots were counted while the total votes for all the five mayoral candidates including him only totaled 50,656.

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