IF THE MAY 10 ELECTIONS PROVED ANYTHING at all, it was that voters preferred the familiar to the unfamiliar.
This was true in the cities of Manila, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Malabon, Valenzuela, Parañaque, Caloocan and Las Piñas and in Pateros town, where incumbent mayors scored convincing wins over their closest rivals to keep their posts for another three years.
And even in Quezon City and Makati City, the candidates who emerged victorious could hardly be considered newcomers in the field of politics, having been in the government service for several years.
In Manila, incumbents Mayor Alfredo Lim and Vice Mayor Francisco ?Isko Moreno? Domagoso were reelected for a second term.
They were proclaimed the winners by the city Board of Canvassers (BoC) Tuesday afternoon.
Lim garnered a total of 395,910 votes, more than 200,000 votes ahead of his closest rival for the mayoral post, former Environment Secretary Lito Atienza, who got 181,094 votes.
On the other hand, Domagoso received 498,609 votes, beating his opponent, Councilor Ma. Lourdes ?Bonjay? Isip-Garcia, by almost 380,000 votes.
Manila has a total of 959,581 registered voters, but only 692,183 chose to go to the polls on Monday.
But while former Philippine National Police chief Avelino ?Sonny? Razon, who got 84,605 votes, already conceded to Lim before midnight on Monday, Atienza is not likely to give up that easily.
According to Atienza?s son and campaign manager, Arnold ?Ali? Atienza, they will question the result of the automated election in the city because it did not match the result of the random manual audit conducted in barangays.
In a statement, Razon acknowledged Lim?s victory as he thanked his supporters. ?The people of Manila have spoken and I shall respect it. I congratulate the winner, Mayor Alfredo Lim, and I thank all Manileños for their support.?
Meanwhile, Pasig Mayor Robert Eusebio got a second consecutive term after a landslide win over his rivals, as did Rep. Roman Romulo, who was elected to another term in Congress.
Eusebio, of the Nacionalista Party, was leading Liberal Party bet Ricardo Reyes and Lucila Hernandez, with about 98 percent of the election returns from polling precincts canvassed.
The Pasig official received 204,441 votes while Reyes got 36,123, and Hernandez, 3,737, as of 4 a.m.
Romulo, on the other hand, had 207,435 votes against the 22,350 of his opponent, Francisco Rivera.
Pasig City BoC chair Ma. Anne Gonzales said the delay in proclaiming the winners resulted from a defective compact flash card that apparently failed to register the votes from a clustered precinct.
Although the precinct accounted for only about 600 votes and would not affect the outcome, Gonzales said they opted for a 100 percent result to avoid any questions or doubts.
In Mandaluyong, incumbent Mayor Benjamin ?Benhur? Abalos Jr. was declared the winner in the mayoral race before noon by the city BOC at the city gymnasium.
He won by a margin of 80,000 votes against Ernest Albert Buan, who is facing drug charges, and two other candidates.
Also declared winners were Rep. Neptali Gonzales II who ran unopposed and Danilo de Guzman, who defeated Abalos? running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Rene Sta. Maria, by a margin of 5,000 votes.
A few hours earlier, outgoing Mayor JV Ejercito was proclaimed the duly elected lone representative of San Juan City.
His mother, Guia Gomez, was also proclaimed the new mayor of the city, after she beat three rivals by wide margins. Ejercito?s father, former President Joseph Estrada, was present during the proclamation.
In Makati, fireworks lit the sky as Councilor Jejomar Erwin ?Junjun? Binay Jr. was proclaimed mayor-elect shortly after midnight Monday. Surrounded by a throng of supporters at the Makati Coliseum, the 33-year-old Binay said his victory was bitter-sweet because his wife, Kennely Lacia, was no longer with him to celebrate the moment.
Kennely died in August while giving birth to a baby girl who was later named after her.
Son of incumbent Mayor Jejomar Binay, who is leading in the tallying of results for the vice presidential race, Binay received 125,664 votes, beating his closest rival, Vice Mayor Ernesto Mercado, by 45,513 votes.
Erwin Genuino, son of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. Chair Efraim Genuino, was in third place with 61,203 votes while former senator Agapito ?Butz? Aquino garnered 5,816 votes.
Although his initial reaction was one of shock, Mercado said he was accepting his defeat because ?it was God?s plan.?
In the vice mayoral race, Mercado?s running mate, Romulo Peña, won with 105,949 votes. Singer Rico Puno got 93,429 while former actress Jobelle Salvador received 35,469 votes.
The older Binay?s daughter, reelectionist Rep. Abigail Binay, won in the second district (84,152 votes) while Maria Lourdes Locsin, wife of Rep. Teddy Locsin, won in the first district (41, 860).
Former actor and Vice Mayor Herbert Bautista was proclaimed the mayor-elect of Quezon City Tuesday morning, beating his closest rival Mike Defensor by a wide margin.
Bautista, the anointed candidate of outgoing Mayor Feliciano ?Sonny? Belmonte Jr., received 497,965 votes over Defensor?s 126,246, a win perceived to be largely due to endorsements from Belmonte and the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Bautista?s running mate Joy Belmonte, the mayor?s daughter, also won overwhelmingly over Councilor Aiko Melendez.
Joy, a newcomer, won with 501,129 votes against the more seasoned Melendez who got 121,941.
Joy promised to continue the projects of her father who won a new term as congressman in the city?s fourth district.
Both ran under the Liberal Party whose candidates also clinched the congressional seats in the city?s four districts?Vincent ?Bingbong? Crisologo for District 1, Winnie Castelo, District 2; Jorge ?Bolet? Banal Jr., District 3; and the older Belmonte, District 4.
Bautista?s other contenders in the mayoral race, Rep. Annie Susano, got 68,035 votes while former mayor Ismael Mathay Jr. received 22,117.
Councilor Antonio Inton Jr., who got 12,185 votes, told Inquirer that he was conceding the race to Bautista because of the latter?s big lead.
Meanwhile, the mayors of the cities of Valenzuela and Malabon received fresh mandates after scoring landslide wins over their opponents.
Mayor Sherwin Gatchalian won another term in Valenzuela City after he received 162,999 votes compared to his rivals, Manuel Carreon and Pablo Hernandez, who only registered 13,920 and 8002 votes, respectively.
Gatchalian was proclaimed by the city BOC at around 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Shalani Soledad, the girlfriend of Sen. Benigno ?Noynoy? Aquino III, front-runner in the presidential race, also garnered the biggest number of votes among the candidates running for councilor in Valenzuela?s second district.
Gatchalian?s brother, Rexlon, won in his bid to represent the city?s first district in the House of Representatives, besting challenger Ma. Elisa Mendoza with 74,977 votes.
The top two posts in Malabon City went to two Oretas. Canuto?who ran unopposed for mayor?was reelected for another term and proclaimed as the winner by the city board of canvassers at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
His nephew, Antolin Oreta III, son of former senator Tessie Aquino-Oreta, was also elected vice mayor.
In Parañaque City, Mayor Florencio Bernabe Jr. won a third and final term after the city BOC declared him the winner over rivals, Rep. Ed Zialcita and former city Mayor Joey Marquez.
Vice Mayor Gus Tambunting was also reelected, beating actor Anjo Yllana, for the post.
In Pateros, another incumbent, Mayor Joey Medina and his running mate, Jose Jonathan Sanchez, bested Patrick Umali and Jorge Nicdao for the mayoral and vice mayoral posts, respectively.
Two other incumbents, Mayor Enrico Echiverri of Caloocan City and Mayor Vergel Aguilar of Las Piñas, were also proclaimed winners by their cities BOCs Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, the canvassing of votes in the cities of Pasay, Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Marikina and Taguig were delayed due to glitches in the transmission of election results and other technical problems.
In Taguig, supporters of two candidates vying for the mayor?s seat, Rep. Laarni Cayetano and former Associate Justice Dante Tiñga, figured in a tense standoff at city hall as both camps waited for the results of the canvassing. With reports from Tina G. Santos, DJ Yap, Miko Morelos, Beverly T. Natividad, Julie M. Aurelio and Niña Calleja with contributors Abigail Robles, James Tana, Nephele Kirong, Elsa Enriquez, Marie Kristine de Guzman, April Rose Vital, Kristine Bunda, Clarizel Abanilla, Ezraline Castro, Dean Airo Dancel, Mayee Gonzales and Erika David