After conceding, Iloilo mayor wins
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—It was a close call for this reelectionist mayor.
Mayor Mariano Malones Sr. of Maasin town had conceded to his opponent, lawyer Elben Marlon Malaga, when he saw that Malaga was leading by a wide margin during the initial canvassing.
To Malones’ pleasant surprise, however, his votes were able to catch up and he went on to win the race by five votes.
“When I won the last elections with 5,000 votes over my opponent, I was happy, but this win is my sweetest victory,” said Malones who ran under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
He said he conceded defeat to Malaga of the Liberal Party on the night of May 13 because his opponent was already leading by hundreds of votes in the initial counting.
That night, Malaga’s camp began celebrating his apparent victory, but the celebration turned out to be premature.
At 9 a.m. of Tuesday, Malaga was ahead with 487 votes. An hour later, when the ballots from the last three of the 50 precincts of the town were counted, Malones overtook Malaga and won with 8,586 votes over Malaga’s 8,581. The last ballots to come in were from the villages of Dagami, Punong and Trangka.
Tension rose at the Maasin town hall, prompting the police and military to converge on the second floor.
Malaga’s supporters demanded a recount. After a manual count of the votes that ended at 1 p.m., the figures remained the same.
Malaga and his supporters left the municipal hall, vowing to file a protest before the Commission on Elections.
Malones was proclaimed the winner on Tuesday afternoon.
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