Based on the order issued on July 2 by the Commission on Election’s 1st Division, the proclamation of Candolalada was never objected to or questioned by mayoralty candidate Genalyn Mangudadatu.
The reports of the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) of Tulunan dated May 21 showed that Candolada got the highest number of votes from the 95 uncontested election returns (ERs). Also, this ruling was supported by the records and evidences submitted by the MBOC to the Comelec on June 2.
In the report, the MBOC denied all the objections raised by Mangudadatu saying the ERs presented for canvassing were genuine, valid, authentic, and clean.
“Mere affidavits cannot hold water or erase the validity of genuine and authentic ERs,” the Comelec said citing the ruling of the MBOC.
Candolada’s objections to some ERs were also denied saying there was no evidence presented as proof that such documents were manufactured and fraudulent.
Both Mangudadatu and Candolada claimed they were proclaimed winner by the MBOC on May 17, three days after the elections.
But the Comelec’s first division did not use any of those proclamation sheets submitted to them by both parties to determine who the real winner was in the mayoral contest.
Instead it used as basis the minutes of the proceedings or the reports submitted by the MBOC to the Comelec on May 21 where it said that based on the 95 uncontested ERs, Candolada garnered the highest number of votes.
The order, which was signed by Commissioners Resurreccion Borra and Romeo
Brawner, clearly stated that Mangudadatu did not file any appeal to challenge the MBOC’s rulings.
The Comelec cited as basis for its ruling Section 20 of the Republic Act 7166 or Fair Elections Act where it said, “any party adversely affected by the ruling of the board shall immediately inform the board if he intends to appeal such ruling. The board shall enter said information in the minutes of the canvass, set aside the returns and proceed to consider the other returns.”
“This being the case, while noting receipt of the documents elevated by the MBOC, we find that there is no need to make an evaluation of such records. No appeal was perfected by Mangudadatu and hence, the questioned rulings of the MBOC have attained finality,” it stressed.
On June 30, both Candolada and Mangudadatu assumed the same post believing they have the ‘moral authority’ and legal basis in doing so.
Though Mangudadatu was holding the keys to the town hall, she, however, refused to enter the building because Candolada’s supporters had barricaded it. “We decided not to enter the building because we didn’t want to create trouble. My wife can hold office anywhere in Tulunan,” said Toto, Genalyn’s husband and vice-mayor of Buluan, Maguindanao.
At around 12:01 p.m. on June 30, former Mayor Taasan handed over to Mangudadatu the keys in a simple ceremony held at the Barangay hall of Sibsib on the belief that she won ‘fair and square’ during the elections.
Such act, according to Candolada, was illegal. “Why would he (Taasan) turn-over the responsibility to somebody not voted by the majority of the people?” she asked.
But with the latest ruling of the Comelec, Candolada said she feels vindicated.
“I have suffered long enough. My assumption to office has been questioned time and again. With the ruling of the Comelec I felt vindicated,” Candolada said.