Catarman, Northern Samar Mayor Antet Rosales. (Photo from FB page of Mayor Rosales)

TACLOBAN CITY – A regional trial court (RTC) dismissed the election protest filed by the opponent of the newly-elected Catarman, Northern Samar Mayor Antet Rosales.

RTC Branch 20 in Catarman town, in its decision dated August 26, 2022, dismissed the election protest filed by Catarman mayoral candidate Lope Dorado Jr. against Rosales.

“The Court hereby renders judgment, dismissing the election protest and declaring as valid the proclamation of Antet Rosales as the duly elected Municipal Mayor of Catarman,” the RTC said in a copy of its decision released to reporters by the Northern Samar provincial government on Wednesday.

Dorado filed his election protest on May 17, 2022, seeking to annul the results of the elections, citing irregularities in the May 9 polls.

He alleged that the machines did not count some of the votes in his favor and that there was a massive substitution of voters in the clustered precincts in Polangi, Cag-abaca, Macagtas, General Malvar, and Imelda villages.

Based on the evidence presented, the Court said Dorado failed to show adequate proof to justify the nullification of the election.

It ruled that the questioned ballots, even if nullified, do not satisfy the 50 percent threshold to affect the results of the elections.

The Court also said the complainant, if there was indeed irregularity, should have reported the alleged anomalies to the Commission on Elections personnel manning the elections and to the police officers on duty.

Rosales garnered 24,811 votes against Dorado’s 22,863 votes.

There were 53,855 valid ballots counted during the May 9 elections in Catarman, the capital town of Northern Samar province. The other ballots were votes for the three other mayoral candidates. (PNA)