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Bulacan RTC dismisses poll protest vs Bocaue 'coin toss mayor'
By Emil G. Gamos

BOCAUE, Bulacan, Jan. 10 (PNA) –- Many believe there was indeed “divine intervention” in the result of the mayoralty race in this town which was decided through a coin toss after the two main rivals ended up tied in the last May 9, 2016 elections.

This, after the election protest filed against winning coin toss Mayor Eleanor "Joni" Villanueva-Tugna was dismissed by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Malolos City.

Tugna's victory decided through a coin toss in the May 2016 election was affirmed by RTC Branch 81 in a 21-page decision penned by presiding Judge Herminigildo Dumlao.

In the said decision, the court sustained Tugna's argument that complainant/ protester Jim Valerio, former Bulacan provincial administrator/ chief of staff of Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, "failed to give a detailed description of the acts or omissions complained of as required by Sec. 10(c)(iv), Rule 2 of A.M. No. 10-4-1-SC, otherwise known as the "The 2010 Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests".

The protest was filed after Valerio lost in the coin toss, alleging that in 34 clustered precincts, "frauds and irregularities were committed in the conduct of the election and during the canvassing of the election returns".

Tugna's lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Antonio Carlos Bautista asked the court to summarily dismiss the said protest for being insufficient in form and substance and for the failure of Valerio to make a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts as required by the Supreme Court Rules for election protests involving elective municipal officials.

The court said that Valerio did not indicate in his protest the particular acts or omissions which amounted to fraud or irregularities committed in the conduct of election.

The Bocaue mayoral election became one of the most controversial in the May 9, 2016 presidential and local polls because it ended up in a draw and was decided by the toss of the coin after Tugna and Valerio received an equal number of votes -- 16,694 votes each.

Tugna scored a 3-0 on a best of five mechanics against Valerio.

She was immediately proclaimed the winner of the mayoral race in this town known as the “fireworks capital” of the country and its colorful fluvial parade.

The court added that Valerio’s election protest “did not make mention of the individuals or parties that committed the frauds or irregularities complained of or of the voters who were disenfranchised due to the commission of the frauds or the irregularities complained of.”

Macalintal said this could serve as a lesson to other  lawyers who, he said, should file the “correct” election protest

Macalintal said that Valerio can still appeal the decision of the Malolos City RTC before the Commission on Elections.

Bro. Eddie Villanueva, father of Mayor Tugna, said there was “Divine Intervention” in the mayoralty race in Bocaue.

He said that there was a Biblical explanation to the coin toss victory of the mayor, citing Proverbs 16:33 which says, "We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall".

"We are thankful to God. My daughter has no interest in politics and just ran for her love to God and the welfare of her townmates,” Villanueva added.

Mayor Tugna said that she was ready to face defeat but she miraculously won. (PNA)
LAP/ZST/EGGAMOS

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