Proclamations put period to Luzon election contests
BAGUIO CITY—The ballots have been counted in many provinces, giving fresh mandate to new leaders by July.
But malfunctioning precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and defective compact flash (CF) cards in some provinces, like Pampanga and Nueva Ecija, had delayed the canvass, with winning candidates proclaimed only on Wednesday and Thursday.
In Pampanga, reelectionist Gov. Lilia Pineda, despite leading by wide margin over former priest and Gov. Eddie Panlilio late Monday night, was proclaimed winner only on Thursday afternoon.
Pineda’s proclamation came after the provincial board of canvassers (PBOC) approved the motion of her lawyers to proclaim her although the certificates of canvass of votes from Mabalacat City and the towns of Lubao, San Simon and Mexico have yet to be transmitted to the provincial canvassing center.
Pineda’s votes, totaling 437,832, gave her a sufficient lead of 322,166 votes over Panlilio, said lawyer Fernando Cot-om, provincial election supervisor.
Cot-om, however, said the PBOC has not approved a motion to proclaim Pineda’s son, Dennis, as vice governor. This would have to wait until all the COCs are in, he said.
Votes from the 269,025 registered voters in the four areas could affect his lead of 214,551 votes over lawyer Maria Amalia Tiglao-Cayanan, who obtained 137,004 votes.
Among the leading candidates in the four congressional races in Pampanga, only former Rep. Juan Pablo Bondoc (fourth district) was proclaimed as of Thursday afternoon.
The other leading candidates in the congressional races were outgoing Vice Gov. Yeng Guiao (first district), former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (second district) and outgoing City of San Fernando Mayor Oscar Rodriguez (third district).
Bondoc managed a comeback in Pampanga’s fourth district, describing himself as the “only politician who survived the onslaught of the Pinedas.” He corrected a report that he is an ally of Governor Pineda, founder of the local political party Kambilan.
In Nueva Ecija, the PBOC on Thursday morning proclaimed winning congressional candidates Estrellita Suansing (first district) and Joseph Violago (second district).
The other winning candidates for the provincial elective posts and members of the House of Representatives in the third and fourth districts could not yet be proclaimed due to delayed transmission of results from Cabiao and Gabladon towns and Gapan City.
Of the provinces tagged as areas of concern in the midterm elections, Abra, Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur have proclaimed their newly elected officials.
On Tuesday, lawyer Mae Richelle Belmes, Abra election supervisor, proclaimed Rep. Ma. Jocelyn Bernos, Gov. Eustaquio Bersamin and Vice Gov. Rosario Bersamin, in what poll officials, the police and Abra’s civil society described as the province’s most peaceful elections.
In Pangasinan, reelectionist Gov. Amado Espino Jr. was proclaimed on Wednesday as winner, ending a bitter rivalry with Liberal Party candidate, Hernani Braganza, the outgoing Alaminos City mayor.
Although the canvass reports from 10 Pangasinan towns had not been received by the PBOC on Wednesday morning, Espino’s proclamation proceeded after it was determined that those votes would no longer affect his wide margin.
Braganza accepted his defeat. In a statement, he said: “I have embarked on a mission to seek the highest position of the provincial capitol, hoping to implement reforms in local governance and help restore pride and dignity among Pangasinenses. Judging from the results of the elections, it seems that I have fallen short in rallying our people behind this cause.”
Espino, who ran under the Nationalist People’s Coalition, received 809,165 votes against Braganza’s 281,037.
Also proclaimed was Espino’s running mate, reelectionist Vice Gov. Jose Ferdinand Calimlim, who got 600,242 votes against the 255,628 votes cast for his opponent, former Philippine National Police chief, Arturo Lomibao.
Also proclaimed were reelectionist Representatives Jesus Celeste (first district), Leopoldo Bataoil (second district), Gina de Venecia (fourth district), Kimi Cojuangco (fifth district) and Marlyn Primicias-Agabas (sixth district), all NPC candidates. Poll officials also proclaimed Rosemarie Arenas, who ran unopposed, as representative of the third district. Reports from Vincent Cabreza, Cristina Arzadon, Leoncio Balbin Jr., Yolanda Sotelo, Gabriel Cardinoza, Melvin Gascon and Villamor Visaya Jr., Inquirer Northern Luzon; and Tonette Orejas, Anselmo Roque, Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Greg Refraccion, Robert Gonzaga, Cesar Villa, Jo Martinez-Clemente and Jun Malig, Inquirer Central Luzon