ILOILO – Defeated candidate for mayor of Concepcion town Vice Mayor Rainier Balida filed an election protest against Mayor-elect Raul Banias.
Balida, who ran under the Nacionalista Party, claimed 1,517 votes for mayor could not be accounted. He sought a manual recount of the votes in 43 clustered precincts.
The election protest was filed at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) – Barotac Viejo on May 24, Balida told Panay News.
In his complaint, Balida pointed out that of the town’s 26,783 registered voters, the voter turnout was 21,651. However, the combined votes for mayor were just 20,134.
Three ran for mayor in Concepcion – Balida, Banias (Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan) and Butch Ariola (independent).
Banias got 10,106 votes; Balida, 9,862; and Ariola, 166.
Balida expressed confidence that he could overcome Banias’ 244 vote lead via a manual recount.
In his election protest, Balida also cited the malfunction of several vote-counting machines.
Banias, former mayor of Concepcion and provincial administrator, welcomed the election protest.
“I am very confident nga despite of the vote-buying, ang mga tawo nagpanidnugan kag nag-express preference nga botohon nila si Dr. Raul Banias nga mas maayo magdumala sang banwa,” he said.
Regarding the alleged malfunction of vote-counting machines, Banias said, “Ina iya allegation ni Rainier Balida lang. Ina wala sang specific instance, wala sang witness nga nag-issue sang affidavit.”
Banias also said his vote lead could have been bigger had there been no vote-buying./PN