DEFEATED Talisay City mayoral candidate Alan Bucao, who is the city’s current vice mayor, has alleged that irregularities occurred during the counting of votes in the May 9, 2022 election that saw his rival, Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Jr., get a fresh mandate.

The allegations came after SunStar Cebu asked him Thursday about the nightly prayer rallies his Barug Lumad Talisaynon supporters have been conducting in front of the Talisay City Hall to air their sentiments on his defeat in the mayoral race.

The candidates from Barug Lumad who were not successful in their bid for public office also joined the rallies that have been going on since Tuesday dawn, May 10.

Bucao’s supporters have been gathering in front of City Hall shouting accusations against the rival administration party that the election results were unreasonable.

Bucao failed to dethrone incumbent Mayor Gullas, getting only 31,277 votes to Gullas’ 93,701 votes.

The entire slate of Team Alayon party headed by Gullas won in the elections, taking the vice mayor’s seat with Richard “Choy” Aznar’s win, and all the city council’s seats as well.

Lawyer Anna Fleur Gujilde, election officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Talisay, advised the rallyists to respect the results and integrity of the elections and seek a proper venue if they want to hold a rally.

She also discouraged them from holding a rally, saying this would not give them a positive result.

Dr. Evangeline Luminarias, schools division superintendent of Talisay, said the rallyists have the right to air their side but they should refrain from naming teachers who they blamed for rigging the election results.

“I have a lot of confidence in our teachers who served in the election,” said Luminarias.

Too speedy count

On Thursday, Bucao said that while he had yet to decide on filing a formal election protest against Gullas, he believed that the move of his supporters to protest the results of the 2022 elections in Talisay was proof enough that anomalies occurred during the counting of votes.

“Dili sad siguro ko makabasol sa mga supporters. Duna silay nakita nga mga irregularities. Duna silay katungod. Kaming mga kandidato nagsuporta sad mi nila kay bisag kami nasakitan sa nahitabo sa elections,” Bucao added. (I can’t blame my supporters. They saw some irregularities. They have a right. We candidates also support them because we were also hurt by what happened in the elections.)

Reacting to Talisay City election officer Gujilde’s call for him to “respect the results” of the election, Bucao said in Cebuano: “Respect? Even the Comelec themselves can’t explain what happened in Talisay. Minglanilla and other municipalities finished their tallies at around 10 p.m., but in Talisay, the results were in as early as 8 p.m.”

Polling precincts nationwide closed at 7 p.m., with voters already in line or within 30 meters of the polling precincts still allowed to vote.

Bucao also questioned why he lost even in his own barangay, San Isidro, significantly against Gullas.

Based on election results provided by the Comelec, Gullas secured 4,571 votes in San Isidro while Bucao got only 3,473 votes.

“Kon moingon ang Comelec nga respetohan, ila sad unta respotohan ang will sa mga tawo. Kay naa may nakita nato nga images kung giunsa nila,” Bucao said. (If the Comelec says respect the results, they should also respect the will of the people because we have seen images on how they did it.)

Can you sleep at night?

Asked about his relations with Gullas, Bucao said while he had never mocked the mayor, Gullas had been telling lies about him.

“Mao na siguro akong ikaingon ni Mayor Samsam nga suwayon unta niya ug tan-aw iyang kaugalingon ug makatug ba siyang maghayang sa iyang gibuhat sa Talisay,” Bucao said.(That’s why I can probably tell Mayor Samsam that he should try looking at himself and see if he could sleep soundly with what he has done in Talisay.)

SunStar Cebu reached out to Mayor Gullas, but he declined to comment on Bucao’s pronouncements.

The former partners turned rivals in the 2022 elections.

Bucao broke away from the group after what he alleged was a string of failed promises to field him as Alayon’s mayoral candidate that culminated in Gullas’ wife, Rhea Mae, being made the 2022 official bet, only to later switch places with Gullas.

No permit, no rally

Meanwhile, amid talk of impending nationwide protests to be held Friday, May 13, 2022 by militant groups who support Vice President and presidential candidate Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo, the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) said it will strictly implement the no-permit, no-rally policy against would-be rallyists in the city.

The militant groups will reportedly hold a simultaneous protest in several parts of the country Friday to condemn the results of the election that showed presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. leading by millions of votes against Robredo in the May 9 elections.

Based on information received by the CCPO, the protesters will walk from Plaza Independencia toward the Comelec Cebu Provincial Office at the Capitol compound where they will air their sentiments.

Lt. Col. Maria Theresa Macatangay, information officer of CCPO, however, said rallyists who cannot present a permit will be allowed to air their sentiments for only five minutes before they are dispersed.

She said a permit from the local government unit is needed because an ordinance requires it. (BBT, AYB, TPT)