Mansilingan voters junk Paglaum village

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Monday, January 13, 2014


THE “No” vote prevailed in the plebiscite held Saturday in Barangay Mansilingan on the proposed creation of Paglaum Village and its neighboring areas into a new barangay, supposedly making it the 62nd barangay of Bacolod City.

Although the victory was brought by a small number of residents, oppositors led by Mansilingan village chief Leonardo Suansing were successful in their campaign against the division of the one of largest villages in the city.

Based on the final canvassing conducted by the Commission on Elections, the fight was close with the “No” garnering 2,987 votes against the 2,582 for “Yes” or a difference 405 votes.

Out of the 17,581 registered voters in Mansilingan, only 5,569 voted or about 35 percent of the total registered voters.

Massive vote-buying was reported and sample ballots indicating a “No” vote were also recovered.

Gemeno Ymballa, legal counsel of the “Yes” convenors, told the Board of Canvassers that they will file a protest covering the 10 precincts in Paglaum Village and its neighboring haciendas.

Ymballa said they will file a partial protest within 10 days because about 80 percent of the constituents of Paglaum Village failed to cast their votes.

He said that inclement weather prevented voters from going to precincts and massive vote-buying influenced the voters.

The legal counsel said that out of about 3,570 registered voters in Paglaum Village, only 1,900 were able to cast their votes, which means that more than 1,600 failed to vote.

“If there were no irregularities, like the bad weather and vote-buying, they could have overtaken the majority,” he said.

Ymballa also said they have recovered a sample ballot for the “No” vote with a P20 bill attached to it which they have kept as evidence.

The Board of Canvassers was composed of City Election Officer Mavil Majarucon-Sia, City Prosecutor Armando Abanado and City Schools Division Superintendent Gemma Ledesma.

The canvassing was witnessed by Provincial Election Supervisor Jessie Suarez.

For his part, Mayor Monico Puentevella said he will respect whatever is the decision of the people of Mansilingan.

Councilor Caesar Distrito, who authored the ordinance for the creation of Barangay Paglaum, said the people have spoken in such historic democratic exercise.

"We have to respect the result of the plebiscite. All sides have worked hard, and as they say, only one will prevail, and the No votes have it. I will study the arguments of those opposing it and will try to come up with a win-win proposal," Distrito said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 13, 2014.

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