IMPORTANT DELIVERY. Members of the Department of Public Order and Safety-Quezon City bring in ballot boxes to the city hall compound on Monday night (May 9, 2022). Reelectionists Joy Belmonte and Gian Sotto are headed toward fresh terms as mayor and vice mayor, respectively. (PNA photo by Robert Oswald P. Alfiler)

MANILA – No area in the country has been classified with failure of elections as of Tuesday, the Commission on Election (Comelec) said as it noted that Monday’s national and local polls were the most peaceful in recent years.

Despite usual vote counting machines woes and isolated reports of violence, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said Filipinos experienced "generally peaceful elections".

Wala po kaming nabalitaan na kahit na anong effect nito dahil nga po katulad sa isang area, nalagay sa Comelec control, ay napakadami pa rin pong mga tao ang nakapila at talaga naman pong nagnanais na makapasok sa ating mga polling place (We did not receive any report of affected areas, even in those placed under Comelec control. Many people were able to vote and really wanted to enter polling places),” he said in a public briefing on Tuesday.

Among the reported issues were vote-buying and violence by private armed groups of local candidates.

Pero ikumpara po natin sa lahat na ng eleksiyon, noong mga nakaraan, ito po ang pinaka tahimik as regards sa violence at saka issue ng terrorism (If you are to compare it in all elections, the previous ones, this is the most peaceful as regards to violence and issues of terrorism),” Garcia said.

The Comelec has yet to receive petitions to declare a failure of election in places where violence erupted, like Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Abra, and Nueva Ecija.

“These are isolated incidents and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and the PNP (Philippine National Police) – and we’d like to appreciate them – are in full control of the situation in the entire country,” Garcia said.

Amended rules

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court, during its en banc deliberations on May 5, approved the interim amendments to the 2010 Rules of Procedure for Municipal Election Contests, which updated and consolidated the existing rules on election contests pending before lower courts.

According to a news release, the 2022 Interim Amendments provides for an initial recount of ballots of the pilot clustered protested precincts which shall not be less than and nearest to 20 percent of the total number of protested precincts that will best illustrate the merits of the protest.

The initial recount is intended to determine if there is a substantial recovery wherein the protestant is able to recover at least 20 percent of the overall vote lead of the protestee.

Based on the said determination, the court may dismiss the protest, without further proceedings, if no substantial recovery could be established. (PNA)