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Special Mayoral Election to be Held in Siruma

Pili Camarines Sur  (June 6 2011) – After the Commission on Election (COMELEC) nullified the proclamation of incumbent Mayor Sandy Ondis as the winning mayoral candidate in the May 10 2010 elections, the Provincial office of the COMELEC here shall schedule a special election in an island village in Siruma, Camarines Sur.

Last week, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial director Arnel Renato Madrideo served a DILG order at the Siruma Municipal Hall designating Siruma Vice- Mayor Karina Polinga as acting Mayor and top-notcher Councilor Dario Sta. Rosa as acting Vice-Mayor of the said town until the winning mayor is proclaimed.

Although as reported the mayor’s secretary refused to accept the DILG order, PNP Deputy provincial director, PSupt. Jesus Martinez assigned members of the PNP Provincial Safety Company to man the municipal hall so that the designated officials can function and a peaceful transition is assured.

Provincial Election Supervisor Noriel Badiola confirmed that a COMELEC en banc ruling had nullified Ondis’ proclamation as a resolution to an earlier electoral protest filed by rival mayoral candidate Nonito Vier who questioned the failure of the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBC) to count the 247 ballots contained in one ballot box.

Vier lost by less than 100 votes based on an incomplete count and promptly filed an election protest when Ondis was proclaimed winner.

The 247 ballots coming from 4 precints in barangay Butuawanan were stuffed into a ballot box and delivered to the municipal hall for manual counting by the MBC after an on-site automated counting machine had malfunctioned on election day.

The contested ballot box, however, went missing and could not be presented when the MBC was set to start its count as part of protest procedures.

The ballot box and a computer CPU used during elections, stored for safekeeping at the municipal treasurer’s office, were reported lost since March 29,2011 and are now subjects of investigation by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) regional office under Director Antonio Pagatpat.

Pagatpat revealed, that NBI investigators found no signs of forced entry at the Siruma Treasurer's Office where the lost material had been stored. However, the entrance to the local COMELEC office was proven to be forcibly opened, he said.

Badiola said that a special election will resolve the dragging electoral controversy in this 6th class municipality, now gripped with tension among leaders of the rival politicians.(SONNY SALES)


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