By Joey A. Gabieta Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:26:00 04/08/2011
Former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong welcomed the decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) that ordered a manual recount of votes for the disputed congressional race in the province’s lone district.
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong welcomed the decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) that ordered a manual recount of votes for the disputed congressional race in the province’s lone district.
With the recount, he added, the people of Biliran would have a chance to determine their rightful district representative.
“My appeal to the HRET is to really fast track the recounting of the votes,” Chong, reached on his mobile phone, said on Thursday.
The HRET is set to start the manual recount of votes on April 27.
Biliran Rep. Rogelio Espina, who was accused of benefiting from alleged fraud during the elections, could not be reached through his mobile phone.
But in an interview over radio station dyDW on Wednesday, Espina expressed confidence he would emerge victorious after the HRET recount.
Espina was declared winner by 351 votes after he garnered 40,010 votes while Chong got 39,659 votes.
But Chong said he hoped that the HRET recount would show that there was fraud in the counting of votes last May.
He said he decided to pursue his petition because of the “factual basis” that his camp had unearthed that “backed” their claim of electoral fraud.
He added he also received an outpouring of public support.
The HRET, composed of three Supreme Court justices and six congressmen, made the decision after Church-backed groups and residents of Biliran pooled funds to pay for the petition to review results of the elections in Biliran.
Sr. Erlinda Lanigao, a nun of the Sisters for Christian Community in Biliran, said in a statement that people were hoping the recount pushes through.
She said the recount would show the actual results of the voting in Biliran, which was marred by a power outage.