Ex-congressman Ebdane wants manual vote recount in Zambales
IBA, Philippines – Former Zambales 2nd district representative Jun Omar Ebdane wants a manual recount of votes after he lost his re-election bid last May.
Ebdane, son of Zambales Governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr, lost to lawyer Cheryl Deloso-Montalla.
Ebdane filed with the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) on June 1 the petition which contests the election and proclamation of Montalla. He alleges that vote rigging, manipulation of the automated electoral process, and massive vote buying happened in May.
Ebdane told the HRET that due to the highly technical nature of the automated elections, the exact nature and extent of allegations of poll manipulation and fraud, the results will never be fully known unless and until a thorough investigation and inquiry is made via manual counting.
Ebdane also said in his petition that the 2nd district towns of San Antonio, San Narciso, San Felipe, Cabangan, Botolan, Iba, Palauig, Masinloc, Candelaria, and Sta. Cruz have a combined voting population of 231,090, per Comelec records.
However, the actual number of voters during the May midterm elections went down to only 186,666 , he said. Ebdane also insisted there were at least 12,000 of his votes which were either disenfranchised or lost due to manipulations or from faltering vote-counting machines.
The Commission on Elections has certified that, after the consolidation of election results per municipality, Montalla garnered 98,433 votes against Ebdane’s 76,742, a difference of 21,691 votes.
Asked to comment on Ebdane's suit, Montalla told Rappler that Ebdane is just making a nuisance complaint.
According to her, Ebdane's petition violated an HRET rule, which says "a party filing protest shall file it to the concerned court within fifteen days after the proclamation of a winning candidate.”
"[Ebdane] is obviously referring to May 17, 2013, as my proclamation date when in fact and in truth I was officially proclaimed by the Provincial Board of Canvassers on May 15, 2013, and I have evidences to prove my point in any court," she said.
"His petition is baseless, moot and academic, which is an outright violation to HRET Rule 16. This is the reason why I am opting to move for its immediate dismissal,” she added.
Montalla said Ebdane is telling a "tall tale" for attempting to cast himself as a victim of fraud and vote buying, when it was the Ebdane clan that dominated Zambales politics.
Ebdane's local party dominated the last elections, from the governor down to the provincial board seats, except for two. The Deloso clan was also trampled by the Ebdane machinery. Former Governor Amor Deloso and former Iba Mayor Ad Hebert Deloso both lost.
"It's incredible that he could claim what he is claiming in his petition when, in fact, the Ebdanes were the ones with the very well oiled political machinery. It was the Liberal Party candidates who took a beating because of electoral shenanigans, if there were any, not them. And when Delosos lose elections, we don't cry or protest, but just accept the will of the people," she said. – Rappler.com