Teacher: Winner’s allies harassed me over names-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A TEACHER who served on the Board of Election Tellers (BET) was allegedly threatened by some supporters of Greg Yap, the newly-elected barangay captain of Banilad, Mandaue City.
On the day of the barangay election, Ria Vertulfo, chairperson of clustered precinct 55 in the Banilad Elementary School, said that seven alleged supporters of Yap were not allowed to vote because they were identified as multiple registrants by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Vertulfo appeared before the media yesterday together with officials in the Department of Education (DepEd) in Mandaue. She has been teaching in Banilad for five years and served in previous elections.
Yap, however, said in a separate interview that Vertulfo was “never harassed.” He described her as a close friend of the incumbent barangay captain who has defended the latter during the barangay election.
According to Vertulfo, seven voters’ names were struck from the list, which Atty. Anna Fleur Gujilde, Mandaue election officer, signed. This meant that the names had already appeared in another precinct.
A certain Yamomo then came to precinct 55 and identified herself as watcher of Yap. However, when asked for an identification card, she failed to present any, said Vertulfo.
Vertulfo recalled she advised Yamomo and the voters to visit the Comelec office to bring up their concerns. She seemed emotional when she narrated the events yesterday.
The teacher alleged that Yamomo then ordered to stop the election in that precinct.
Vertulfo said she went to another office within the school to call Gujilde and reported the incident.
While she was about to go back to her precinct, a woman, later identified as Remedios Bercede, grabbed her arm, she said.
“Gibira ko niya ug giingnan ko magkita ta sa korte (She grabbed my arm and told me I would see her in court),” Vertulfo said.
That night, after the canvassing of votes, she said that two senior citizens blocked her with their feet, which made her trip. She nearly fell to the ground, the teacher said.
When she and the other BETs brought the ballot boxes to the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex, there were people who called out her, “Maestra nga bakakon (You’re a teacher who lies).”
In a separate interview, Yap denied Vertulfo’s allegations.
“Wa siya giharass (She was never harassed),” he said.
Yap added that Bercede, whom the teacher accused of grabbing her arm, is his aunt and a retired teacher. She wasn’t in the area when the confrontation allegedly happened, Yap said.
He said they will file a case against Vertulfo for all the “false” allegations against them.
Benjamin Tiongson, administrative officer of DepEd Mandaue, said they will support Vertulfo in case she decides to file a complaint.
Tiongson also said he will inform the Deped regional office about the incident.
Edgar Espina, president of the Mandaue Public School Teachers’ Association, said funds will be provided to Vertulfo for the filing of the case.
Vertulfo no longer wants to serve in the next elections.
“Wa koy gihimo nga sayop. Wa koy gidapigan kay non-partisan ug di pud nako ibaylo akong pagkamaestra nila (I did nothing wrong. I did not defend anyone because BETs are non-partisan and I cannot afford to give up my profession as teacher,” she said.
In another incident, radio dySS reporter Norman Mendoza was allegedly punched by a job-order employee of Mandaue City who was detailed at the Comelec office.
Mendoza suffered bruises in his left ear, chest and face after Edgar Lumapas Paulin, 55, from Purok Caimito, Barangay Ibabao, Mandaue allegedly punched him five times.
Mendoza was at the Comelec in Mandaue around 9 a.m. yesterday to get the results of the barangay elections. He said he was told by the staff that they were busy doing something else. Mendoza said he suggested to the personnel a more systematic way of producing results of the election.
However, when he was in the parking lot about to leave, three men followed him.
He said that Paulin confronted him and was about to attack him, but he managed to kick him on the chest.
Mendoza recalled Paulin fell on the ground and then someone pushed him from behind.
He said he landed on Paulin, who was still on the ground, and punched him on the face while the other person was holding his hands behind his back.
The casual employee, when interviewed, said he was hurt when Mendoza told them that they are not systematic, after they had sleepless nights to prepare for the barangay election.
Paulin said that Mendoza called them “mga bulay-og (incompetent).”
He said it was not his intention to hurt the reporter and that it was Mendoza who first kicked him.
Election assistant Jacqueline Reuyan said that Mendoza kept muttering inside the Comelec office.
Reuyan explained they did not want to rush because they might make mistakes in the results.
At the Mandaue police station, Paulin and Mendoza both agreed to forgive each other and the incident was settled.
In another interview, Gujilde said Paulin was already in the Comelec since she assumed office in 2009.
She said the incident was an isolated case.
Gujilde said it was the first time they encountered this kind of incident. She said her employees had gone home at 4 a.m. yesterday and were working with a skeletal force.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.