Former Kalinga vice governor James Edduba’s lead over governor-elect Ferdinand Tubban has increased after an initial recount in the pilot precincts of the former’s ongoing election protest for the governorship.
The motion filed by Edubba before the Commission on Elections showed that he recovered a net of seven votes, which is more than the required “substantial recovery” of 20 percent.
Aside from the seven votes, the vice governor had a total of 20 claimed ballots in his favor, which is more than enough to offset the winning margin of Tubban in the 2019 polls.
Edduba, who ran under the Lakas Christian Muslim Democrats party, now has a winning margin of 17 votes.
Last May, Tubban, the former mayor of the provincial capital Tabuk City, was declared the winner by 10 votes, 39,148 to Edduba’s 39,138.
Third-placer Conrado Dieza Jr. of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas got 30,685 votes.
The Comelec said the revision, recount and reappreciation of the ballots from the pilot protested clustered precincts was terminated last Jan. 30.
Under Comelec Resolution No. 9720, there is a substantial recovery when the protestant is able to recover at least 20 percent of the overall lead of the protestee or counter-protestee.
Edduba’s camp welcome the development, saying it has proven his victory in the 2019 polls.
In a statement, the former vice governor also revealed that he initially did not want to file an election protest, but the volunteers demanded an explanation about the missing ballots.
“Noong tinalo ako ng 10 votes, I felt I betrayed my supporters for not doing my best during the campaign but with new development nafeel ko na I am proven correct, na naloko kami last election. Kahit hindi man ako paupuin, at least alam ng tao na ako yung totoong nanalo,” Edduba said.
“I would like to prove that you can win even if you do not have money, kung may magandang intention ka, may nakita silang maganda kang ginawa. I would like to do that in Kalinga,” he added.
“I know na usually sa experience ko sa protest walang nananalo, but dahil sa mga supporters ko, sabi nila this is the time na ilaban mo naman kami. Practically even the money that was used for this is nagpass the hats sila, even until now, they are still contributing. This fight is not only for me but for my supporters,” the former vice governor said.
Edduba has demanded a recount in some areas of Kalinga after Tubban defeated him by a mere 10 votes in the 2019 polls.
The election protest loomed after reports showed the transmittal of election results from certain towns such as Sucbot in Pinukpuk town were also delayed, which supposedly changed the outcome of the elections. Edduba was also leading early on during the election count.
According to lawyer Ricardo Lampac, Kalinga provincial election officer, the delay of the result and the transmission from Sucbot was due to problems related to the vote counting machine, prompting the change to a substitute machine.