PUERTO PRINCESA CITY (Updated) -- Incumbent Mayor Lucilo Bayron has survived the Puerto Princesa City recall election, handing defeat to former mayor Edward Hagedorn.
In an interview, Commissioner Arthur Lim said Bayron was proclaimed at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday.
Bayron led Hagedorn 44,000 votes to 39,000 votes, he said.
The first batch of ballots for official canvassing arrived at the Victoriano J. Rodriguez Multi-Purpose Hall at the Provincial Capitol compound shortly before 6 p.m. on Friday.
However, the members of the Board of Canvassers (BOC) did not commence the canvassing until 8 p.m. when other ballot boxes started arriving from voting centers in outskirt barangays.
Members of the BOC said the delay was due to various circumstances such as alleged attempt of the Hagedorn camp to stop the canvassing due to suspected tampered ballot boxes, missing Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) signatures on election returns, and threats of protest outside of the canvassing venue.
Several hours before Bayron's proclamation, Hagedorn filed a petition objecting to the proclamation due to alleged questionable election returns.
However, the BOC decided to pursue the canvassing after the petitioner allegedly failed to submit supporting evidence regarding the election returns being contested from certain barangays.
Bayron expressed gratitude to his loyal supporters for standing beside him in the recall election, saying his triumph is not only his, but also for the residents of the city who made their vote counts.
Lim said the recall election in the city was generally peaceful.
"Walang gulo, walang election related violence at maganda ang cooperation with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, Department of Education and the City Treasurer office," Lim said.
Lim noted that of the 29 candidates who participated in the recall poll, on Bayron and Hagedorn received votes.
Asked on the allegations that vote buying and vote selling were prevalent during the recall polls, Lim urged the parties to file a complaint before the poll body.
"Hindi naman maiiwasan 'yung reports na ganyan every time meron halalan tayo. Allegation is not proof. The Comelec is ready, willing, capable to entertain, resolve complaints of that nature. Kung meron man kailangan isampa sa Comelec as election offense and we will act accordingly," he added.
Out of 127,162 registered voters in this city, 83,301 or 65.5 percent went out on Friday to participate in the recall election. (FP/PNA/Sunnex)