By Ranie S. Azue
With four election returns yet to be canvassed, the City Board of Canvassers led by election registrar, lawyer Milagros Salud Villanueva, proclaimed last night the official winners of the recently concluded elections.
Mayoral winner Monico Puentevella was proclaimed first. It was followed by the proclamation of Greg Gasataya and Evelio Leonardia as vice mayor-elect and congressman-elect, respectively.
Puentevella arrived at the session hall of the Sangguniang Panlungsod with more than a thousand supporters, who later joined him in a mini-victory party in front of the New Government Center.
Official results showed that Leonardia won as congressman by garnering 94,682 votes, while Puentevella got 105,685 votes to claim the mayoralty post, and Gasataya defeated his two rivals with 68,226 votes.
Also proclaimed were the 12 newly elected councilors, who were all present during the ceremony except Alex Paglumotan.
El Cid Familiaran with 98,956 votes topped the contest for the city council seats. He was followed Jocelle Batapa-Sigue at No. 2 with 90,270 votes; Bobby Rojas – 86,305; Em Ang – 85,728; Carl Lopez – 85,356; Claudio Puentevella – 83,122; Caesar Distrito – 76,206; Archie Baribar – 72,272; Wilson Gamboa Jr. - 69,034; Alex Paglumotan – 68,380; Sonya Verdeflor – 64,432; and Ann Marie Palermo at No. 12 with 63,419 votes.
According to Villanueva, they based their decision to go ahead with the proclamation on the En Banc Resolution of the Commission on Elections that authorizes local BOCs to proclaim winners if the remaining uncanvassed ERs will no longer affect the standing of the candidates.
Villanueva said COMELEC Resolution 9702, which was passed Tuesday morning, immediately took effect and was used as basis of the proclamation.
She stressed that the BOC, if not due to the mislabeling of the Compact Flash Cards of the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines, should have had finished the canvassing of the ERs as early as 2 a.m. of May 14.
The election registrar explained the number of voters of the four uncanvassed clustered precincts totaled only to 3,286, which will not affect the margin of votes garnered by the winning congressional, mayoralty, vice mayoralty and councilor bets.
Information gathered by Watchmen Daily Journal revealed that the “uncanvassed” ERs came from clustered precincts numbers 95 in E. Garcia Elem. School; 110 in Domingo Lacson National High School; 279 in Medel Elementary School and 286 in Villa Esperanza Elementary School./WDJ