By ROGER M. BALANZA
When election lawyer Sixto Brillantes was named by President Aquino as the new chair of the Commission on Elections early this year, we thought that Lady luck certainly is not in love with former Speaker Prospero Nograles.
Brillantes and Nograles are not exactly friends. Two years back, the election lawyer questioned the then Speaker’s sexual preferences, after filing an ethics complaint against Nograles.
He is gay, said Brillantes, after the then Speaker reportedly failed to act on an electoral tribunal case involving a congressman.
After losing his mayoral bid in the May elections against Mayor Sara Duterte, Nograles haD asked Comelec to conduct a recount of votes citing fraud.
With Brillantes who called him gay in the past as chairman, we thought Nograles would not see the day in his attempt to annul results of the election where he was beaten by more than 200,000 votes.
But as we can see, Nograles’ protest is alive and well, with no less than Congressman Karlo Nograles, saying the recount would start in April, starting with ballot boxes from 100 precincts that Karlo said would be a revelation after the votes are counted.
We define “revelation” according to Karlo in two ways: either the votes as counted by Comelec would be confirmed or Nograles’ loss would farther soar up.
We have no beef against Nograles filing a protest despite the big margin. People like us have big hearts for born losers like Nograles, and it is human nature that we pity him for not having become mayor despite three attempts.
But we are angry at Comelec for entertaining the protest especially that Nograles lost by more than two hundred thousand, repeat 200,000, votes against Sara Duterte.
Months ago before Comelec ordered ballot boxes sent down to Manila for a recount, we were elated that the poll body was on the brink of coming up with a resolution that would frustrate efforts by sour losers to pester the Comelec with protests, especially coming from those who lost by a hundred miles.
A friend had then told me that the Comelec was about to issue a resolution that would aim to declog the poll body of hundreds of pending election protests.
If he was to be believed, the friend told me that the Comelec resolution would consider only protests seeking recounts in elections where the protestant lost by say below 10,000 or 20,000 votes.
If the protestant lost by over 20,000, the resolution automatically sends the protest to the garbage dump. In cases where statistical improbability says results could not be overturned, the protest goes to the moon. As in the case of Nograles losing to Inday Sara.
In the May elections last year, Inday Sara clobbered Nograles with more than 220,000 votes taking about 70 percent of total votes cast. Rody Duterte made his challenger Nograles’ running mate Ben de Guzman eat dust with more than 300,000 vote margin.
Nograles protested the results and wanted the ballot boxes sent to Manila alleging fraud in the first automated polling in the country. Among his reasons was that about 40,000 zombie voters crawled out of their graves to vote for Inday Sara and Rody on election day.
In the last elections, Inday Sara and Rody made history like Nograles. The Dutertes won by landslides with the biggest vote margins in the city’s political history. Nograles crowned himself with a double whammy: he now holds the record as the only politician who lost thrice in the mayoral race and the only politician defeated with the largest vote margin.
If there is really such a Comelec resolution, we then asked our feriend, that would automatically dump protests where protestants lose by more than 20,000 votes, what will happen to the protest of Nograles—and de Guzman—who lost by more than 200,000?
The Comelec will hire a space shuttle to dump the protests in the moon, he said.
I was elated of course if that happened, electoral protests being a pain in the neck, especially if the protestant took a measly 20 percent of votes, cannot accept his fate and still believe he won the race.
But I wanted to be sure if my friend was not making a fool of me with his story about the Comelec resolution that would kick to the moon protestants who lost by more than 20,000 votes. With the sheer margin of defeat that Nograles suffered, his protest, methink, should have been consigned to Mars. My friend, alas, was indeed making a fool out of me. There was no such a resolution.
And that is why Karlo Nograles now comes around town, saying the recount of votes in 100 precincts that would start in April would be a big revelation.
As we are saying, the revelation coming soon has two faces: confirm Nograles loss or at worse stretch Inday Sara’s winning margin to more than 300,000 votes.