Defeated Unisan mayoralty bet Junjun Suarez files election protest

by Gemi Formaran June 6, 2019 All in the family: (From left to right) Board member Jet Suarez, 3rd district Rep. Danilo Suarez, Gov. D...

by Gemi Formaran
June 6, 2019

Defeated Unisan mayoralty bet Junjun Suarez files election protest
All in the family: (From left to right) Board member Jet Suarez, 3rd district Rep. Danilo Suarez, Gov. David Suarez and ex-Rep. Aleta Suarez stand together after they have filed their certificates of candidacies in October last year at the Provincial election office in Lucena city.

GUMACA, Quezon – Crying election fraud and irregularities in the mayoralty election on May 13 in Unisan town, defeated mayoralty candidate Danilo ‘Junjun’ Suarez Jr. has filed an election protest against his political opponent Ferdinand Adulta at the Regional Trial Court Branch 61 here.

Sentinel Times has obtained a copy of the petition filed by Suarez thru his legal counsel, Atty. Robert Lim on May 22, asking the RTC to annul Adulta’s proclamation or to declare a failure of election for the position of mayor in Bgys. Raja Soliman and Mabini.

According to Suarez Jr., there were massive fraud and irregularities in several barangays on election day that were reported by poll watchers and independent 3rd parties.

Suarez Jr., an incumbent vice mayor and a resident of Bgy. F. De Jesus in Unisan, a 4th class municipality of Bondoc Peninsula in the province’ 3rd district, is the son of 3rd District Rep. and House minority floor leader Danilo Suarez and ex-Rep. Aleta Suarez and brother of incumbent Gov. David ‘Jayjay’ Suarez who are all residents of Unisan.

According to the final official Cemelec count, Adulta who ran under PDP-Laban ticket obtained 6,078 votes while Suarez who ran under NP, got 6,042 votes or a thin margin of 36 votes.

In the vice mayoralty race, Suarez’ running mate, Sebastian Puache won when he got 7,580 votes while Alas Pino (NPC), Adulta’s running mate, got 3,029 votes.

Suarez Jr. claimed vote buying in Bgys. Almacen, Kalilayan Ibaba, Kalilayan Ilaya, Panaon Ibaba and Poctol. He also said there were casting of pre-shaded ballots and substitute voting in Bgy. Kalilayan Ibaba; SD card malfunctions and ballot jams in Bgys. Raja Soliman and Mabini; non-printing of voter-verified paper audit trails starting in the morning on May 13 in Bgy. Raja Solilman; prohibition against poll watchers from entering the polling station in Bgys. Raja Soliman and Kalilayan Ibaba and accounted votes in several barangays such as F. De Jesus, R. Lapu-Lapu, R. Magsaysay, Almacen and 17 other barangays.

In Bgy. Raja Soliman, where Junjun is a registered voter, poll watchers were allegedly not allowed to enter the polling center by the Electoral Board on ground they did not possess supposed official ID which were allegedly sold by local Comelec. To protect the integrity of the mayoralty election, Junjun was also allegedly forced to buy the official ID but no official receipt issued. Only around noon were the poll watchers allowed to enter.

In the same polling center of Bgy. Raja Soliman, vote counting machines allegedly stopped printing voter verified paper audit trail leaving voters in the dark if their votes were properly recorded. Malfunctioning of SD cards and continuing ballot jams in the said polling center allegedly resulted in disenfranchisement of several voters as shown that Bgy. Raja Soliman had only about 76.82 voters turnout.

Cong. Danilo, Mrs. Aleta and Atty. Joanna Suarez, among others, allegedly had to go back to their respective precincts at least twice to try and cast their votes. Because of alleged malfunctioning SD cards and ballot jams, many of the voters were allegedly discouraged from voting, went home, and never came back to cast their ballot.

Bgy. Raja Soliman has 479 registered voters but 368 actually voted with Suarez Jr. getting 162 votes while Adulta got 193 votes. It is the barangay of Suarez, his known allies and supporters and being son of Rep. Danilo Suarez and brother of Gov. David Suarez, the petition said it is not farfetched that Danilo Suarez Jr. should have won in this barangay.

“Considering the number of registered voters and turnout in Bgy. Raja Soliman, the 31 vote lead of Adulta is suspect. If the irregularities did not happen and considering the advantaged position of Danilo Suarez Jr., it is not farfetched that he should have won.”

There are a total 17,446 registered voters in Unisan but only 12,773 actually voted. When sought for his reaction about the petition filed against him by Suarez Jr., Adulta - a former policeman, barangay chairman, councilor and vice mayor of Unisan - said simply that it is the people’s will which led to his ‘moral victory’ in the mayoralty race in Unisan.

Adulta said that he was unable to conduct a political caucus during the election campaign so he opted instead to do house-to-house to personally connect with the voters.

He denied doing any vote buying in the election saying he has no money to fund adequately his campaign, unlike his political opponent who is well endowed and connected being a member of the Suarez influential political family.


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