BACOLOD CITY — “Mysterious and unbelievable.”
This was how Mayor Evelio Leonardia described the results of the local elections here where his challenger, former Negros Occidental Congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, was proclaimed by the Commission on Elections’ Board of Canvassers as the winning candidate in the mayoralty race.
Leonardia, standard bearer of Grupo Progreso (GP), garnered 107,447 votes while Benitez of Asenso Bacolod received 171,893 votes.
Leonardia, in a statement, said the difference was simply “mysterious and unbelievable,” especially in areas they consider as their bailiwicks. Leonardia lost by 64,446 votes.
With this, Leonardia said that Grupo Progreso is considering taking legal action.
“For now, we will leave the matter to our legal team,” said Leonardia. “It will be up to the lawyers to study and look into possible legal remedies so that we can have the vote-counting machines rechecked to satisfy the questions raised by the GP slate and all our supporters.”
He also took the opportunity to thank the scores of “Pulahans” who stayed with Grupo Progreso and supported his family particularly during challenging times.
“All your efforts did not go to waste. Your love and support are highly appreciated. You have been a source of inspiration and strength for me all these years,” said Leonardia.
Only five from Leonardia’s slate won the elections, including re-electionists Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, Councilors Israel Salanga, Cindy Rojas, and Atty. Renecito Novero, and Em Ang, who’s making a comeback in the City Council seat.
Majority of the winning candidates came from Benitez’s slate, including re-electionist Congressman Greg Gasataya, and eight newly-elected Councilors – Jude Thaddeus Sayson, reelectionists Al Espino and Simple Distrito, Pao Sy, Celia Flor, Jason Villarosa, and Vladimir Gonzales, and Claudio ‘Kalaw’ Puentevella.
Earlier, Atty. Revo Sorbito, city election officer, said that any candidate who might have doubts on the results of the elections has the right to file a protest, provided that he/she can prove his/her allegations.