Proclaimed Cogon Ramos councilor to assume position until results are recomputed
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The barangay councilor in Barangay Cogon Ramos, Cebu City, whose proclamation is now under question due to alleged errors in computations, will assume her position until the re-computation of the election results is finished.
Cherry Ann Ginobisa Cillar, the barangay councilor whose total number of votes is alleged to have errors in computation, told CDN Digital on Wednesday, November 8, that she would assume her position since her name is stipulated in the certificate of canvass of votes and proclamation (COCP).
Cillar took her oath on Tuesday, November 7, at the Cebu City Hall together with the other winning candidates from the 31 barangays in Cebu City.
But on Tuesday, a re-electionist councilor of Barangay Cogon Ramos went to the office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Cebu City to report about the alleged error of computation in the total number of votes for Cillar.
May Tugot Sadaya, the incumbent barangay councilor who ran for her third and last term in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) this year, raised this concern to the Comelec Cebu City North District on Tuesday.
Error on results
Based on the statement of votes by precinct that was presented to the media on Tuesday, Sadaya received a total of 998 votes from nine precincts, while Cillar received 1,003. This result was then written on the COCP.
According to the COCP, Cillar placed seventh while Sadaya finished eighth, and for the barangay councilors, only seven seats are available in the position.
If recomputed, Cillar’s total number of votes would be 973, which means it has a difference of 30 from the COCP result. She would also be removed from the list of winners, and this would make Sadaya climb to the seventh spot. Only seven councilors are elected in the barangay level.
Lawyer Marchel Sarno, election officer of Comelec Cebu City North District, advised Sadaya to consult the issue with her lawyer and recommended that the usual process would be filing a ‘petition for correction of manifest error’ addressed to Comelec central office in Manila.
In this kind of petition, only the COCP is recomputed and not the ballots, because recounting the ballots refers to the election protest, according to Sarno.
Willing to step down
Cillar clarified that she will step down if the final result of the re-computation will remove her from the list of winners.
But until that is clarified, she will still take her position.
“Mopadayon ko [sa akong position] kay ako man ang naa sa certificate of canvass,” Cillar said on Wednesday. (I will continue because I am the one in the certificate of canvass.)
Cillar added that she has no problem with Sadaya filing a petition to correct the error because it is also their right to file it, as recommended by the Comelec.
“Honestly, wa gyud ko’y kalibutan nga ako diay number seven sa tinuod lang. Kay ang akong giapas, makadaog lang ang among kapitan ug majority sa among konsehal, okay na kay ko. Pero wa jud ko mag huna-huna nga makadaog ko. Wa jud ko nag apas ana kay ako, trabaho ra gyud,” Cillar said.
(Honestly, I had no idea I was at no. 7. What I was hoping for was that our captain and majority of our councilors would win. That would’ve been okay for me. But I really wasn’t thinking that I would win. I was really not going for that, I just work.)
But while her name is stipulated in the COCP, she said she will gold on to the position first.
“Kung siya, siya. Kay God’s will man gud na. Kung para imo, para imo. Og di, nganong pugson man? Karon mo follow lang sa ta sa Comelec,” she said.
(If it’s her, it’s her. Because that’s God’s will. If it’s for you, it’s really for you. If it’s not, why force it? But now, let’s just follow the Comelec.)
Last Tuesday, Sadaya said that win or lose, she would accept the results as long as the computation of the results are accurate.
Meanwhile, Sadaya asked Sarno what would be the best thing to do with the teacher who served as one of the barangay board of canvassers (BBOC). Sarno advised her to make a “separate complaint” about this issue.
Sadaya said that she already reached out to the teachers in the City Central National High School to ask if it was an honest mistake on the part of the BBOC chairman.
On Wednesday, CDN Digital reached out to Darvy Sinugbohan, the BBOC chairman who was responsible for the alleged mistake.
Sinugbohan said that there was no councilor or concerned individual who reached out to her regarding the matter.
Sinugbohan also said that during the election, there were no poll watchers at the precinct.
After the elections ended on October 30, Sinugbohan said she was with two other BBOC who helped her with the results.
The two BBOCs were the ones who computed the number of votes, while Sinugbohan was responsible for writing the result on the statement of votes.
“Maypa lage ako nalang nalang ge-ako tanan ang trabaho,” Sinugbohan said. (I should have just done all the work.)
Moreover, Sinugbohan clarified that she is not related with Cillar, noting that she is from Barangay Sudlon 2.
“Honestly, wala ko’y ge paboran,” she said. (Honestly, I am not favoring anyone.)
She admitted that it was purely a “human error.”
Moreover, she is also willing to talk with Sadaya and explain what really happened. Since she also communicated with Sarno as well on Wednesday and the lawyer told her that it would take ‘due process’ until everything is corrected.
Sadaya said that she only learned about the issue when someone from the BBOC informed her about the error.
Sarno said that the incident would serve as a lesson to the teachers that despite their exhaustion from being the BBOC, they have a huge obligation to review and make sure the results of the elections are accurate.
He said, though, that moving forward, they will try to correct what needs to be corrected with procedures in manual elections.
“Kung automated [elections] pa ‘yan, wala magkakamali. Tao lang ‘yung nagbilang. Kung meron tayong pagkakamali, we’ll try to correct and determine kung merong lapses…kasi kung lahat ng teacher kakasuhan natin, ititerminate natin, sino naman ang magseserve in the next election?” Sarno said in a media interview on Tuesday.
(If this was automated, there would be no errors. Those counting are just humans. If there are mistakes, we’ll try to correct and determine if there are lapses… Because if we file cases against all teachers, if we terminate them, who would serve in the next elections?)
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