Cops stave off clash between pro, anti-Guadalupe split groupsBy Jhunnex Napallacan, Tweeny M. Malinao
Cebu Daily News
The “Yes” vote and the “No” vote camps bore placards and wore T-shirts as each of them staged their own rallies a few meters away from each other in the streets of V. Rama, Cebu City.
A confrontation ensued between a group headed by Labangon barangay captain Victor Buendia and the United Banawa-Englis Association (UBEA) in front of the home of former south district congressman Antonio Cuenco yesterday afternoon.
Cuenco authored Republic Act (RA) 9905 that called for a plebiscite to split barangay Guadalupe into two, with the other barangay to be called Banawa-Englis.
Barangay tanods and some police were called in to break up the two groups, with the Labangon group heading to the Guadalupe Barangay Hall to continue with their rally.
One of the Labangon residents, 19-year-old Nilo Adoro, complained that he was allegedly harassed by the UBEA crowd. “My cell phone and wallet nearly got taken away from me,” he said.
Adoro said he was told by one of the “Yes” vote supporters to “stop intervening.”
“Tell your leader to resort to legal means (to address his grievances),” said Samuel Rosales, UBEA board member in reference to Buendia.
Labangon barangay captain Victor Buendia earlier said he is actively campaigning against the split which will reduce the size of his barangay by at least five hectares.
He said a reduction in their land area could also cause real property tax losses of about P5 million and include Rosalina Village, where he lives, as part of the new barangay Banawa-Englis.
Buendia said if the “Yes” votes win the plebiscite, he will elevate the case to the Supreme Court.
But UBEA members still questioned why Buendia should be involved in campaigning against the split.
“He shouldn’t interfere since he doesn’t have a stake in the plebiscite,” Rosales said in Cebuano.
UBEA president Crispin Villarin reiterated that Buendia’s Labangon group shouldn’t intervene in the plebiscite.
He said the court had ruled with finality that the boundary dispute between Labangon and Banawa-Englis was already solved.
“I’m asking them not to intervene in the plebiscite. They already lost the case,” he said.
The Commission on Elections gave a 15-day campaign period for tomorrow’s plebiscite starting last July 12.
The “No” vote supporters had a parade from V. Rama to Guadalupe Church and held a miting de avance afterwards.
In a press conference yesterday, Cuenco said he will file a petition to oust Buendia if the Labangon barangay captain continues to campaign against the division of barangay Guadalupe.
Also yesterday afternoon, some members of a senior citizens’ group based in Guadalupe distributed campaign flyers calling for a “No” vote on the Guadalupe split.
Val Olandria, president of the senior citizens association, denied this saying they were only helping members who haven’t received their P3,000 aid yet.
Comelec Cebu City South district election officer Edwin Cadungog said about 28,431 registered voters in Guadalupe are expected to vote for either the division or retention of their barangay.
Cadungog said the voters can just answer in English or Cebuano.
“We will receive the vote even if it’s answered in Cebuano. We’ll respect the voter’s intention,” he said.
The plebiscite venue will be held at the Guadalupe Elementary School, where 79 clustered precincts will be used.
A clustered precinct is composed of two to three precincts with at least 500 voters each.
The polling precinct opens tomorrow at 7 a.m. and will end at 3 p.m.
Each clustered precinct will be handled by a three-person board of election tellers composed mostly of teachers from Guadalupe.
The counting will be done immediately after the voting.
After the counting in every clustered precinct, the result will be forwarded to the sub-canvassing committee manned by Comelec personnel.
The results will then be forwarded to the main Board of Canvassers, still based inside the school.
Cadungog, who heads the board of canvassers, said he expects the final result at 9 p.m. on Saturday.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, who supported the creation of barangay Banawa-Englis, said he won’t be able to vote due to a scheduled trip to Yosue, South Korea. With reports from Correspondents Edison delos Angeles and Katreena Bisnar