MANILA’S FIRST FEMALE MAYOR. Honey Lacuna-Pangan (3rd from left) takes her oath as Manila mayor before her predecessor, Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso, at Manila Cathedral on June 29, 2022, assisted by husband and Manila Health Department chief, Arnold Pangan, and their daughter, Lucia Danielle. The Commission on Elections affirmed her win after junking an electoral protest filed by losing candidate Alexander Lopez. (Courtesy of Manila Cathedral Facebook)

MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division has dismissed the protest against Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna, filed by losing candidate Alexander Lopez, for failure to present evidence to support the case.

The nine-page decision, signed by Commissioners Marlon Casquejo and Rey Bulay and released Saturday, stated that Lopez failed to show solid proof of alleged massive electoral frauds, anomalies, misreading of ballots, and miscounting of votes, among others.

Lacuna won with 538,595 votes while Lopez was a far second with 166,908.

The Comelec said even if Lopez will be credited with the 31,608 votes he questioned, Lacuna would still emerge the winner.

Lopez filed the petition on May 23.

“It is clear from the above-quoted allegations that the instant protest case failed to comply with Section 7(g), Rule 6 of Comelec Resolution No. 8804, as amended, which requires that an election protest shall contain "xxx a detailed specifications of the acts or omissions complained of showing the electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities in the protested precincts. Undeniably, the Protestant (in his protest) employed general and unsubstantiated averments without particularly specifying the circumstances relating to the alleged electoral frauds, anomalies or irregularities,” read the decision dated October 6.

The Comelec said nowhere in Lopez’s election protest or in his voluminous annexes was there an attachment of alleged joint affidavits of voters who supposedly claimed vaguely that they voted for him during the May 9 polls and that their votes were not reflected in the results.

“The alleged documented massive acts of vote buying perpetrated directly and indirectly by the Protestee to induce the votes in the City of Manila to vote for or against the Protestant thru the commission of vote buying are also bare assertions, uncorroborated by any other proof, whether testimonial or documentary,” the poll body added.

As for the allegations of illegal use of public facilities, equipment, funds and other resources in Lacuna’s candidacy, the Comelec advised Lopez to file an appropriate complaint before the Law Department “so that the same may be properly investigated.”

The 57-year-old Lacuna was Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domago’s vice mayor prior to the elections and is the first female mayor of Manila.

A medical doctor and former councilor, she is the daughter of former Manila vice mayor Danny Lacuna. (PNA)