Rama to file election protest

By: Jose Santino S. Bunachita, Juli Ann M. Sibi |May 10,2016 - 11:36 PM
LETSE

joy Pesquera shows a P500 bill attached to a piece of paper with Osmeña’s name. (CDN PHOTO/ JULI SIBI)

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama will file an election protest within the next 10 days, as he cried foul over the victory of his staunch rival Tomas Osmeña.

“We have been robbed! It is statistically impossible for him (Osmeña) to win because all national and local surveys show that I will win. Even other national parties conceded that I will win! They cheated the Cebuanos,” Rama told over a thousand of his supporters and party mates who gathered at the Plaza Sugbo last night for a prayer rally.

The crowd cheered, accompanied by jeers “Osmeña, tikasan (cheater)!”

Osmeña was proclaimed winner of the Cebu City mayoral race with an estimated 40,000-vote lead.

On stage with him were Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella who won against Nestor Archival; his son, lawyer Mikel Rama; and rest of the winning slate of Team Rama composed of 10 councilors — six in the south and four in the north.

Rama believes that through the vote-counting machines (VCMs), his opponent and their party managed to steal some 30-50 votes that were meant for him in some 800 precincts in Cebu City.

VCM RECEIPTS

According to Jocelyn Pesquera, who also heads Rama’s legal team, voters reported to them that even if they voted for Rama as mayor, what appeared on their voters receipts would be Osmeña’s name or it would be empty, as if they abstained.

When these incidents were reported to the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) in their respective precincts, voters would be told to “ignore the errors” and to “leave it alone”.

Pesquera said they got these reports from 80% of the barangays in Cebu City particularly in Barangays Ermita, Sambag I, Sambag II, Poblacion Pardo, Basak Pardo, Basak San Nicolas, Tejero, Tinago, Barrio Luz, San Nicolas Proper, Pasil, Camputhaw, Lahug, Apas, Banilad, Hipodromo, Carreta and Pahina-Central.

In mountain barangays, Pesquera said that vote-buying by Osmeña’s camp was rampant.

She presented to the crowd a P500 bill attached to a sheet of paper that had “Tommy Osmeña, Mayor” printed on it.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella said he and his fellow winners in the elections will not take their oaths of office until there is an investigation on the “stolen votes”.

“I won with a heavy heart. The results defy logic. Even if we won, it is not a true win if Rama’s votes were stolen. It is statistically improbable,” said Labella.

The moment Osmeña sits as mayor of Cebu City, Rama said that it would be an insult to the Cebuanos.

“Baga siyag nawng. Wala siyay uwaw. Nanikas siya and molingkod pa gyud siya? I hope that the law will bring justice to the votes of Cebuanos who voted for the right man,” he said.

OPPOSITION
Osmeña comes into office with a city council no longer dominated by Ban do Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK).

But minutes before his proclamation at City Hall’s Social Hall at around 4 a.m. yesterday, Osmeña told reporters that he is more than willing to take the challenge.

“I feel that I have accepted a major responsibility and challenge. And I feel I owe it to the people who have not lost faith in BO-PK,” he said.

Osmeña lost to Rama in 2013 and makes a comeback to Cebu City Hall with a council dominated by Team Rama.

“I don’t have problems with Labella. I have problems with Rama. But that’s not a problem anymore. He’s gone,” he added.

Rama said he won’t stop Osmeña from taking over City Hall come July 1. Rama said he wants the “truth” to come out.

Asked for his message to Osmeña, Rama said “tell the truth that you have robbed my votes. Because I will prove it.”

Only winning BO-PK candidates showed up during the proclamation yesterday dawn. Those from Team Rama were not around.

PLANS

Osmeña says the first thing he will do is to make consultations with different sectors.

“The first step is to listen. Before you start making a decision, you have to consult the different sectors to find out how they feel about. I know what I want, I’ve been mayor before. But I have to reconcile, evaluate what the sentiments are,” he said.

Osmeña also assured the city’s barangay captains that he will be a “father of everybody” even if they didn’t vote for him.

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