EXPLAINER: BOPK's Margot Osmeña reveals she filed election protest but withholds details. Under Comelec rules, basis must be 'fraud, anomalies.' In 2016, Mike Rama cited fraud, alleging he was 'PCOSed.' His protest against Tomas Osmeña failed as Margot's seems not likely to succeed too.

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WHAT THE PUBLIC IS TOLD. A dyLA Cebu post on Facebook Thursday, June 2, said Margarita "Margot" Osmeña, BOPK candidate for mayor in the 2022 May elections, confirmed that "yes, we filed a protest" and her lawyers "are taking care of that."

Asked in a phone interview for the basis of the protest, the former Cebu City councilor and former acting mayor (for 45 days) said, "the usual."

She didn't say anything more, even on just the basis of the complaint, and asked that they interrupt the interview and she'd call back. When she did, she said "no comment." Or so the dyLA Newsbreak report re-posted by broadcaster Jhunnex Napallacan said.

DIDN'T CONCEDE. Neither Margot nor her husband, former mayor and ex-congressman Tomas Osmeña, had given any idea that the BOPK standard bearer would file a protest, let alone a pre-proclamation contest.

Margot or Tomas did not concede and did not congratulate rival Michael Rama of Partido Barug. Both their FB accounts were noticeably silent; their last posts were on May 7 and May 8. Their daughter-in-law Bea Osmeña -- who landed three spots away from the winning circle of eight -- thanked on FB her supporters, with no hint that BOPK might protest the results.

POST-PROCLAMATION PROTEST is what Margot Osmeña, through her lawyers, must have filed. Based on what is last known about Comelec rules of procedure and practices in poll protests, the public may surmise that:

[1] A QUO WARRANTO or petition contesting the election returns of a city official, over which Comelec has exclusive jurisdiction, is what Margot, through her lawyers, filed.

[2] DATE OF FILING must have been not later than May 24, as protestant Margot Osmeña had "a non-extendible period of 10 days following" the date of proclamation. Protestee Mike Rama was proclaimed May 14. The only exception to the rigid rule on filing is when there's a pending pre-proclamation controversy, which suspends the running of the period to file. That's unlikely, unless the pre-proclamation controversy is another tightly kept secret of BOPK.

[3] BASIS may be gleaned from what is required under the rules of procedure, namely, “a detailed specification of the acts or omissions complained of, showing the electoral FRAUDS, ANOMALIES, IRREGULARITIES, in the protested precincts.” Margot, asked by dyLA about the basis of the protest, answered, "the usual." "The usual" comprises the foul deeds listed in Comelec rules.

HOW MUCH DID MARGOT KNOW of the alleged frauds, anomalies and irregularities? Mrs. Osmeña made it sound as if she didn't know much about the lawsuit as her lawyers were taking care of it in Manila.

The requirement though that the petition must be "verified" should dismiss that thought.

By "verified" is meant Margot must have signed under oath an affidavit declaring that the allegations of fraud, anomalies and irregularities are "true and correct" according to her "own knowledge" or "based on authentic records." Not just based on "information and belief" or "knowledge, information and belief." In addition, Margot is required to personally sign a certificate of "non-forum shopping," violation of which, along with the "verified" affidavit, is cause for outright dismissal.

MIKE RAMA'S REACTION. New reports on Thursday, June 2, said the mayor had not yet read the complaint of her rival election rival Margot Osmeña, whom Rama beat, per official tally, by more than 35,000 votes. But Mike said he already told his lawyers what to do.

Mayor Mike must have already been served a copy as the Comelec rules of procedure require proof of service on protestee Rama, unless the mail was extremely slow.

The news reports didn't use "unfazed" -- a favorite cliché among reporters and headline writers -- to describe the mayor's reaction, but an election protest is not new to Rama.

In 2016, when Tomas Osmeña drubbed then reelectionist mayor Rama, Mike was vocal about protesting, disclosing not just the basis of his protest ("fraud") but also such details as number of pages of the petition (20) and names of his lawyers (Attys. Joy Pesquera and Ernesto Rama). Even during the last election season, Rama talked of having been "PCOSed" two elections ago.

Mayor Rama was the protestant then, not the protestee, as he is now.

DOOMED TO FAIL? Even if protestant Margot's case against Mayor Mike is based on solid evidence, it is most likely to fail in its major purpose of stopping the start of Mike's fresh term or unseating him. Rama said he's already planning his inauguration.

The reason for skepticism, Comelec Commissioner George Erwin Garcia said last May 26, would be lack of time to resolve a protest, which usually results in the three-year term being consumed with the protestant, if he wins, unable to serve it.

Rama had to abandon his 2016 protest when deadline for the filing of COC for the 2019 election came. It was never resolved whether Tomas Osmeña beat him by almost 34,000 votes or the electronic voting machines did. It would be interesting to find out if Margot's allegation of fraud also involves the EVMs (or, the acronym in 2016, PCOS).

Commissioner Garcia proposed to revise the rules of procedure in election protests, so as to cut down on time to dispose of each case, citing the rule, among others, that requires the transport of ballot boxes to Manila. But would the new rules be adopted soon enough to apply to pending cases, numbering 30, filed just after the May elections?

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