Governor Arthur Yap, during his inaugural speech on Sunday, highlighted that some of his political opponents have not moved on from the concluded midterm elections in an apparent swipe at defeated gubernatorial bet Leoncio Evasco, Jr. who filed an electoral protest against him.
Yap, near the start of his 30-minute address at the Bohol Cultural Center, expressed his appreciation for last-term Second District Rep. Aris Aumentado, a staunch ally of Evasco, for having moved on and calling for unity “for the sake of Bohol” but, without dropping names, lamented that others have not been able to do the same.
“Today, some who opposed have moved on having been able to accept reality and even offered a hand of partnership for the sake of Bohol. One of those is my friend, Congressman Aris Aumentado whose offer to unite Bohol is very warmly and greatly accepted. Unfortunately, some others cannot or refuse to do so,” Yap said.
Yap was sworn into office by Judge Leo Moises Lison, presiding judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 3, at the same venue before he delivered his inaugural address.
Evasco, through his lawyers, filed an election protest against Yap before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on May 27, 2019, asking the poll body to declare the proclamation of Yap as governor “irregular, unlawful and null and void.”
He disputed the election returns of all the clustered precincts of Tubigon, Panglao, Sagbayan, Sikatuna, Guindulman, and Candijay as he requested for a manual recount in the said municipalities.
Evasco noted that he is willing to deposit his share of the amount to cover the expenses for the recounting of the votes.
Evasco told the Comelec that in Tubigon, the vote counting machine (VCM) in Barangay Tinangnan Elementary School malfunctioned and failed to restart twice even after the secure digital (SD) card was removed and reinserted. A spare VCM from the municipal Comelec office was also found defective.
He emphasized in his protest that an SD card replacement from Cebu City was brought in by a Comelec staff without the presence of a watcher.
While waiting for the SD card from Cebu City, ballots used by the voters were placed in a separate unsecured receptacle and feeding of ballots to the VCMs after the arrival of the SD card was done in secrecy, he said.
In the other five contested towns, Evasco claimed that at the start of the voting at 6 a.m., five of the VCMs failed to initialize, prompting the watchers to demand manual voting but their requests were denied by the Electoral Board.