Supporters of losing gov barricade Negros Or. capitol
DUMAGUETE CITY—Tension rose here on Thursday after at least 100 supporters of outgoing Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo gathered in front of the provincial capitol to prevent the new governor from assuming his post.
The protesters put up barbed wires while 10 government trucks were sent to the capitol compound to prevent Gov. Pryde Henry Teves, who stopped Degamo’s reelection bid, from entering the building.
Teves, a member of the Nationalist People’s Coalition party, on Thursday morning took his oath of office at the Dumaguete City Hall of Justice located about 100 meters away from the capitol.
After the ceremony, Teves decided to temporarily hold office at the province’s legislative building where he released his first executive order that mandated law enforcers to do a “security sweep” or ensure peace and order at the capitol compound.
Policemen in full battle gear were sent to the Negros Oriental capitol but some protesters threw stones at them.
As of 5 p.m. on Thursday, it was unclear whether Degamo was inside the capitol.
Protesters claimed that Teves won the gubernatorial race in Negros Oriental through electoral fraud.
The conflict stemmed from an election dispute caused by a third gubernatorial candidate, Grego Gaudia Degamo, who registered his name in his certificate of candidacy as Ruel Degamo.
The defeated governor wanted the votes obtained by Ruel Degamo to be counted in his favor after the latter was declared a nuisance candidate by a division of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Dec. 21, 2021.
The case, however, was pending at the Comelec en banc after Ruel Degamo filed a motion, asking the poll body to reconsider its decision to disqualify him.
Results of the May 9 gubernatorial election showed that Teves won by only 19,435 votes after garnering 296,897 votes while Degamo received 277,462 votes. Ruel Degamo, on the other hand, garnered 49,039 votes.
Degamo, who ran under Nacionalista Party, and his supporters said Ruel Degamo spoiled his reelection bid and that his votes must be counted in favor of the former governor.
“The votes cast for the nuisance candidate (Ruel) must be credited in favor of the legitimate candidate with a similar name to give effect to, rather than frustrate, the will of the voters, even if the declaration of the nuisance candidate became final only after the elections,” he said in an earlier statement.
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