Southern Leyte Elections

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COMELEC proclaims provincial, municipal, city winners

By BONG PEDALINO (PIA Southern Leyte)
May 18, 2007

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte  –  A noisy fireworks lit up the pre-dawn sky above the capitol ground airspace here Thursday as winners from the Congressional and gubernatorial races, including the provincial board members, were announced and proclaimed by Atty. Felicisimo Embalsado, Provincial Election Officer who also served as the Chair of the provincial board of Canvassers.

On Wednesday night, or about four hours earlier, winners of this city were also duly proclaimed, while for the rest of the 18 towns winners were also duly proclaimed accordingly in the 3-day period from the May 14 balloting.

All the victors from the provincial level down to this city’s councilors came from the Lakas-Kampi coalition.

Re-electionist Representative Roger Mercado won over his rival, Engr. Robert Castanares, the former garnering 82,583 votes and the latter, 80,954 votes, or a close margin of 1,629.

Based on these figures, the voters’ turnout for the province was 86%.

For the gubernatorial post, Marissa “Dundeet” Lerias got 72,037 of the votes cast, while her rival, City Mayor Damian “Mian” Mercado had 85,778, for a landslide victory in the Mayor’s favor with a 13,741 difference.

This city’s Vice-Mayor, meanwhile, is now Mayor-Elect Maloney Samaco, with 18,105 votes as against Gov. Rosette Lerias’s 17,207 votes – a slim difference of 898 votes.

For the second straight day on Thursday, the city hall grounds remained barricaded as sympathizers of Gov. Lerias staged another silent protest rally, this time complete with placards denouncing the teachers manning as board of election inspectors (BEIs) at precinct levels.

A sampling of the placards read, “Maestra limbongan tikas sa presinto” (teachers cheaters cheating at precincts), and “Mga kapitan, tanod ug mga konsehal sa barangay maoy nagpasiugda sa tikas, limbong ug kawat sa mga boto nato (Village heads, barangay police, and barangay councilors initiated the fraud, cheating, and stealing of our votes).

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Mayor and Governor-Elect Mercado and his elder brother, re-electionist Cong. Mercado, simply ignored the quite protesters, saying it’s their right to air grievances.

But most teachers who read the placards felt disgusted, as they did their duties in utmost honesty and integrity.

Gov. Lerias, who at one point was joining about a hundred persons huddled at the Rizal monument across the city hall, was quoted as saying she was there to maintain the peace and cool her supporters.

The protesters peacefully dispersed shortly before the proclamation of the city winners was made by past 9 pm, it was learned.