Emano changes mind, files protest

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CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—Mayor Vicente Emano has asked his lawyers to file an election protest against the proclamation of Misamis Oriental Gov. Oscar Moreno as the new city mayor.

Emano and Moreno’s faceoff in the post-“Sendong” mayoralty race was touted to be the most watched elections in the city’s history because of pre-poll perceptions the incumbent mayor’s political hold was weakened by the tragedy.

Months after Tropical Storm Sendong devastated the city in 2011, its victims continued to clamor for help. They also pressured the city government to rescind all mining contracts around the Iponan and Cagayan rivers.

Emano showed confidence in the early stages of the campaign after a Xavier University survey showed him leading. But he was stunned when Moreno began a widening lead during the early hours of the canvassing.

Beaten by 18K

When the counting was over, Emano had lost. Moreno beat him by a margin of about 18,000 votes.

Barely three days after he had conceded defeat, saying it might have been a blessing as he had long looked forward to retirement, Emano on Friday announced his decision to file a protest before the Commission on Elections.

So what made him change his mind?

Emano said it was the “highly credible” April 4 Xavier survey, which showed him leading by 10 percent over Moreno.

“My loss was highly incredible,” he said.

Backed by Binay

Emano said that Vice President Jejomar Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) had backed his plan to file an election protest.

UNA itself had strongly criticized the results of the midterm polls and charged that there were anomalies committed to ensure the victory of candidates allied with President Aquino.

But Teddy Sabu-ga-a, a close Moreno ally, said if Filipinos would allow surveys to be made the basis for politicians to claim victory, then we should do away with elections.

James Judith, lawyer for the Liberal Party which fielded Moreno, said “the election protest will not hold ground.”

Judith also doubted Emano’s firmness in contesting Moreno’s proclamation as mayor and said the LP viewed it as an attempt at a graceful exit. Bobby Lagsa, Inquirer Mindanao

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