ORMOC CITY – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) First Division has dismissed the election protest against Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez filed by the legal counsel of losing candidate Engr. Edward “Ondo” Codilla.

In addition, the Comelec First Division through Socorro B. Inting, Presiding Commissioner, and Aimee P. Ferolino, Commissioner-Senior Member, has also ordered the cancellation of the Hearing on the Special and Affirmative Defenses in the instant case set on September 13, 2022; and directed the Finance Services Department to reimburse to Protestant, through counsel, the amount of PHP 100,000 representing the initial cash deposit earlier paid upon the issuance of the Certificate of Finality and Entry of Judgment in the instant case, and to draw the check under the name of Protestant’s counsel.

To recall, on August 4, 2022, Mayor Gomez filed a Manifestation and Motion praying for the dismissal of the subject election protest in view of the death of Codilla on July 29, 2022 after succumbing to cancer.

On August 8, 2022, the Comelec First Division issued the Order directing Atty. Christian Apollo U. Lawyer, the counsel for Protestant, to comment on the Manifestation and Motion within three (3) days from receipt of the Order.

On August 11, 2022, the required Comment with Motion to Withdraw Election Protest was received by the Commission from Atty. Lawyer affirming the declaration of Protestee that Protestant has passed away on July 29, 2022, attaching a copy of the Certificate of Death of the Protestant. He then moved that the instant election protest be withdrawn and that the cash deposit covered by Receipt Number 13383905 C dated May 20, 2022 be released. Finally, on August 15, 2022, Atty. Christian Apollo U. Lawyer, as counsel for Protestant in the instant case, filed the Manifestation with Motion on Comment with Motion to Withdraw Election Protest praying that the reimbursement of the initial cash deposit be made under the name of counsel pursuant to the Special Power of Attorney, which they have presented to the Comelec. By Gwen Maurillo (EV Mail December 5-11, 2022 issue)