The Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bohol declared that the conduct of the midterm polls was successful saying there was no disenfranchisement caused by fear and intimidation amid allegations from the camp of losing gubernatorial bet Leoncio Evasco, Jr. that the there was a failure of elections.
According to Comelec Bohol Supervisor Atty. Eddie Aba, failure of elections may be declared if the voting itself was not able to start due terrorism, violence and intimidation.
The polls may also be deemed a failure if the votes were not counted and canvassed or a winning candidate was not proclaimed for the same reasons.
“Before we can declare kanang gitawag nato na failure of elections, based on jurisprudence, gi-set na g’yud ni siya na kinahilanglan mao ni ang nangahitabo: ang una, wala nakasugod og butaranay because of violence, terrorism, force and intimidation o duna g’yuy pwersa na nakaingon na wala g’yud nakasugod ang pagbotar,” said Aba.
“Ang ika-duha mao ang nakasugod og botar pero wala makwenta, wala ma-ihap ang mga boto because of the same reasons…og ang ika-tulo na instance mao ang nahuman og botar, nahuman og counting pero wala ma-canvass ug proklamar,” he added.
Aba, while thanking the state security forces, said that the polls were “peaceful” and “successful.”
He thanked the police, military and the coast guard for “a job well done” in preparing and carrying out security operations during the midterm elections.
According to data from the Comelec, there was a voter turnout of 82.96 percent, meaning 745,557 individuals of 898,682 registered voters were able to cast their votes on Election Day.
Since Tuesday, two days before the canvassing of votes were completed and Rep. Arthur Yap was declared as governor elect, Evasco has issued two official statements questioning the conduct of the elections which he said were marred by “irregularities.”
Evasco, in his first statement, said that he will direct the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Bohol and Hugpong ng Pagbabago-Bohol “to make preparations for the filing of a petition to declare a failure of elections” amid allegations of vote-buying conducted by Yap’s camp.
“I was already swamped by reports of vote-buying employed by the camp of Cong. Arthur Yap in nearly all towns of the Province including Tagbilaran City,” said Evasco.
In his second statement on Thursday, Evasco added that “intimidation” and “other violations” have also denied the province of clean and honest elections.
“The forces of darkness conspired to rob Bohol and the Boholanos of a democratic process precious and sacred to them, the magnitude of which was never seen before,” said Evasco.
Evasco, without mentioning names, said that “drug money” was used as part of the “massive” vote-buying in the province.
While he has never publicly singled out Yap as being involved in the illegal drug trade, Evasco has long been alleging that first district congressman-elect and outgoing Governor Edgar Chatto has been protecting drug personalities in the province through Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II.
Chatto and Yap are allied under the Padayon Bol-anon coalition.
Evasco’s drug allegations against Chatto were regular highlights during his campaign speeches in various towns of the province.
In February, Evasco claimed that his accusations were based on a report submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte.
However, no official from Bohol has ever been included in Duterte’s infamous “narco-list,” including the latest version which was released in March. The list was supposedly made public to serve as “guide” for the electorate during the May polls.
Evasco is a staunch and longtime ally of Duterte. However, the President whose administration is largely focused on anti-crime and anti-drug policies has also called Yap his “friend” in a speech delivered during the miting de avance of Evasco’s camp in Garcia Hernandez on May 8.
Duterte said that Evasco’s gubernatorial rival is also his friend. Although he did not name Evasco’s opponent, the reference he made apparently referred to Yap.
“All the ingredients of what an ideal public servant should be or would be for your Bohol, wala nay laing tawo nga momahal ana nga naa diha para sa public service,” said Duterte of Evasco. “Others, well, I don’t know, I don’t want to speculate kay amigo ra ba pod nako,” he continued.
Evasco ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition but was included in Sara Duterte Carpio’s Hugpong ng Pagbabago ticket while Yap ran under the ruling Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan. (R. Tutas)