MAGALANG -- Mayoralty candidate Romulo Pecson has denied reports that his camp is instigating their supporters and other constituents in this agricultural town where the counting of votes were suspended after 16 vote counting machines (VCMs) malfunctioned.
Pecson, official candidate of the Partido Federal ng Pilipinas, said his supporters peacefully gathered in front of the municipal hall waiting for the counting to resume.
The former mayor said he was leading by 74 votes against incumbent Mayor Malu Lacson, when the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the town, headed by Rosario Lalic, suspended the canvassing Wednesday morning, May 15.
As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, Pecson got 22,149 votes, while Lacson earned 22,075 from 72 out of 88 clustered precincts, which represent 81.81 percent of the total votes cast based on the election returns transmitted to the Comelec.
Pecson clarified that he is always reminding their supporters to keep calm despite the delay in the vote counting.
"If there will be commotions, I assure the people of Magalang that it will not come from us," Pecson said in the vernacular.
He added that his supporters are just exercising their rights and being vigilant following the VCM glitches.
The Philippine National Police and the Comelec locked and cleared the town hall to secure the vote counting but according to Pecson, at least two supporters of Lacson were spotted entering the local government premises.
"You cannot blame my supporters, they are in doubt because I was leading by 211 votes last Tuesday and it was cut down to only 74 votes as of yesterday," Pecson added.