Delay worries Gwen's camp

DELAYS in the results from Balamban and Tuburan prevented canvassers from confirming last night whether suspended Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia or Pinamungajan Mayor Geraldine Yapha won the congressional seat in Cebu province's third district.

The governor's daughter, lawyer Christina Frasco, said in a press statement that Garcia "pending her proclamation, will soon be congresswoman of the third district of Cebu."

As of last night, One Cebu's Garcia was ahead by 4,098 votes against Yapha of the Liberal Party.

"In the town of Pinamungajan where Yapha is mayor, rumors were reportedly spread that Yapha had won the congressional seat. With the processing of election results nearing 100 percent, it would hardly be possible for Yapha to surmount Garcia's lead, and it is only a matter of time before Garcia is proclaimed as Cebu's new third district representative," Atty. Frasco said.

Mayor Yapha, however, said it was premature to declare a winner, in a press conference she called yesterday in reaction to an ABS-CBNnews.com report headlined "Gwen Garcia wins congressional seat in Cebu".

17 not in

The Provincial Board of Canvassers, which was scheduled to convene at 9 a.m. today, still needed to get the complete results from 17 areas in the province last night.

Carcar and Naga in the first district, Bogo City in the fourth, Danao City in the fifth and Mandaue City in the sixth are among the 17 areas with incomplete transmissions.

Nine of the replacement compact flash cards arrived from Manila yesterday. These will have to be delivered to the appropriate precincts, where the ballots will have to be fed all over again to the PCOS machines.

As of 5 p.m. yesterday, only 34 towns and cities (about 66.6 percent of the province's results) were transmitted to the provincial canvassers.

Governor Garcia's brother, Nelson, has already been proclaimed the reelected mayor of Dumanjug.

Three other family members did not fare as well. Vice Mayor Marlon Garcia lost to incumbent Barili Mayor Teresito Mariñas, while the partial, official tally as of 11:38 last night showed Rep. Pablo John Garcia behind lawyer Hilario Davide III by 153,254 votes. Pablo John is the third district's incumbent congressman.

Ballots

Their father, Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia of the second district, was 7,045 votes behind Provincial Board Member Wilfredo Caminero, according to the partial count posted online by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

What caused the delays in some towns or cities' results?

In Tuburan, Comelec Officer Gilbert Pepito said that an election inspector from Precinct 34 decided to use 377 ballots from another precinct, because her clustered precinct had insufficient ballots.

There were only 122 ballots for Precinct 34, which has 499 registered voters, said Emily Lebita, one of the Board of Election Inspectors. Out of the 377 ballots, 314 ended up getting used.

But when these were fed to the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machine, the equipment didn't accept the ballots.

Comelec officials previously said an exact number of ballots is issued to each clustered precinct. These can be accepted only in that precinct's PCOS.

Manual

Provincial Election Supervisor Eddie Aba sent an order to do manual counting, after being told of the problem.

After the manual count, with 99 percent of Tuburan's results completed, Garcia garnered 10,122 votes, while Yapha got 15,160. (Note: The page 1 graphic reflects only the partial figure from Comelec's website.)

Winners were already proclaimed in some parts of the third district.

On Tuesday night, incumbent Mayor Democrito Diamante and his brother Danilo Diamante were proclaimed winners in the Tuburan mayoral and vice mayoral elections. They are LP allies.

That same day, Comelec proclaimed John Henry "Sonny" Osmeña as mayor and former congressman Antonio Yapha as vice mayor of Toledo City, although neither showed up for the ceremony.

In Yapha's press conference, Provincial Board Member-elect Gigi Sanchez-Zaballero said there were still results that needed to be transmitted from Balamban, Barili, Pinamungajan, Toledo City, Tuburan and Aloguinsan.

After waiting the whole day for the delayed results from all over the province, Chairman Aba of the Board of Canvassers declared a recess at 5:15 p.m. yesterday.
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