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Pampanga protest bares poll cheating

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Outgoing Third District Rep. Aurelio “Dong” Gonzales Jr. on Tuesday filed an election protest against City Mayor and Congressman-elect Oscar S. Rodriguez before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). In his protest, Gonzales accused Rodriguez, who garnered 140.826 votes over the former’s 108,275 votes in the May 13 congressional race, of gross violation of Commission on Election (Comelec) Resolution No. 9585 in relation to Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code (OEC) and massive vote buying. Gonzales asked the HRET to disqualify Rodriguez from holding office as representative of the 3rd District and set the latter’s  proclamation as elected representative of the district. Gonzales claimed that Rodriguez signed and issued numerous checks in favor of several payees  a few days before the elections using the account of the City of San Fernando, Pampanga and the Municipality of San Fernando, Pampanga with the Land Bank of the Philippines, San Fernando Branch. Gonzales cited as proof his claim that a few days before the May 13, 2013 elections, Rodriguez signed and issued checks in varying amounts from P3,000 to P5,000 each in favor of seven residents of the City of San Fernando. Gonzales added that on May 10, 2013, or three (3) days before the elections, Rodriguez distributed “financial assistance” also in the amount of P5,000 to his so-called scholars at the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University.
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