Published: Thu, May 16, 2013
First Posted 5/15/13 8:40 PM | Updated as of 5/16/13 7:32 AM
By Paola Palma
Mandaluyong mayoralty candidate Danilo de Guzman, together with his supporters, stormed City Hall on Wednesday, to file a protest against the alleged rigged results of local elections.
De Guzman, who's the incumbent vice mayor, intended to file a petition at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office there to try to hold the proclamation of winners until after a manual recount had been conducted. But the entrance to the City Hall compound was locked, with policemen and security guards blocking the way.
Eventually, though, De Guzman and his lawyer were allowed to enter, only to find out that incumbent Mayor Benhur Abalos had already been proclaimed as the winner.
De Guzman said they were already at the City Hall by noon but were only allowed entry at around 1:30 p.m.
He said he would file the petition – which was signed by some voters in the city – at the main office of the Comelec at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila.
The City Hall chief of staff, Jimmy Isidro, denied the accusations of De Guzman, saying that Abalos won fair and square.
"Wala kaming dinaya, wala kaming binago, wala kaming binabayaran na katulad ng akusasyon nila na vote-buying. At saka, sabi nga namin, kung may mapapakita silang ebidensiya, sana ilabas nila [We didn't cheat anyone, we didn't change anything, we didn't pay anyone, which as they accused us, is vote-buying. And, as we said, if they have evidence to show, we hope they would come out with it] ," he said.
Isidro said the issue arose because the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), during the first 30 minutes of canvassing of votes announced the wrong figures – saying that De Guzman has already garnered 59,000 votes while Abalos only received 3,000.
But Isidro said this was impossible, as the final tally of Comelec showed that Abalos got 86,978 votes while De Guzman only got 39,298.
Isidro says the office of Abalos would soon write PPRCV demanding for an explanation to show the people to pacify them.
He also denied blocking the petition of de Guzman. The gates were closed only because the policemen, thinking there was a rally, were just trying to protect the Comelec.
He also said that former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos, father of the incumbent mayor, should not be involved in the issue, because he only arrived at the City Hall when Comelec had already unofficially proclaimed the winners. The older Abalos went there to support her granddaughter, Charisse, who won as a councilor.
According to Comelec figures, 131,743 out of the 195,977 registered voters in Mandaluyong cast their votes.
Abalos received 86,978 votes, De Guzman got 39,298, while the other candidate, Florencio Solomon garnered 479 votes.