Albee to mayor Bing: the truth hurts

May 11, 2022 by No Comments

“Mysterious and unbelievable.”THAT was how unseated incumbent Mayor Evelio “Bing” Leonardia and his supporters described the result of the just-concluded elections in the city.Former Negros Occidental Third District Congressman Alfredo “Albee” Benitez won over Leonardia with a wide margin of votes.Obtaining 171,893 votes against Leonardia’s 107,447, Benitez was proclaimed mayor-elect of the highly urbanized city that had been led by the latter for almost two decades.But Leonardia, in a statement, said that like observations made by some quarters, they, too, believed that was an irregularity in the count [of votes], citing the manner of treating the casting of votes.He noted that they received reports from their poll watchers of unusual and questionable malfunctioning of a number of vote counting machines (VCMs).This raised questions on the fair conduct of the election and in the credibility and accuracy of the electronic transmissions and delivery of the votes from the precincts to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) canvassing center, Leonardia added.“Political observers could not believe that the crowds in all the events of Grupo Progreso (GP) braved the scorching afternoon heat and stayed until close to midnight to listen, standing on their feet for eight hours or more but did not vote for members of our slate,” the outgoing mayor stressed.Aside from Leonardia, seven of the GP candidates for councilor and their congressional candidate Daniel Atayde also lost in the polls.Despite losing, Leonardia thanked everyone “who stayed with GP during the good and most challenging times” and also recognized the efforts of his wife, Elsa, and his children.For now, the lawyers of GP are studying possible legal remedies so that they could have the VCMs rechecked to satisfy the questions they raised, the camp said.In reply, Benitez said the “truth hurts.”Benitez, who heads Team Asenso, said that it is GP’s prerogative to do whatever they want.But even during the campaign, they already felt their victory as people were coming out of the streets and showing their full support to them, he said, adding that “ever since we wanted a good working and harmonious relationship between the province and Bacolod City (because) we need each other.”The mayor-elect said he is only taking a rest for a few days, they will then start discussing and forming his transition team so that they can hit the ground running.“Hopefully we can do away with politics as the election is over so we’ll buckle down and get to work,” he emphasized.In a related development, Benitez’s spokesperson Atty. Bong Dilag, in a statement last night, said that in the spirit of reconciliation and healing, they take this opportunity to “humbly extend our heartfelt empathy to the incumbent mayor, whose May 2022 electoral debacle appears to have left him reeling in shock and awe.”Dilag said such decisive and conclusive mayoralty election results must have made him feel dizzy and defensively reduced and cornered in a state of denial.“The truth will set you free, but first, it will make you miserable,” he added.The office of the mayor-elect further said that they refused “to stoop down to the level of childish, if not gutter politics, nor do we intend to needlessly belabor the malicious, false, and baseless allegations raised by the incumbent mayor.”It is crystal clear that the newly-elected successfully presented his plans and programs according to his vision and set of values which have strongly resonated with the Bacolodnons who have long hoped for change,Dilag said.Dilag also said that the content of the subject letter of the incumbent mayor which essentially branded them, by way of implication, as cheaters and liars cheapens the voice, hope, and aspirations of Bacolodnons and their constitutionally protected right to select their leaders.He said they respect the incumbent mayor’s democratic right to avail of whatever remedies the law may afford him as they similarly intend to vigorously raise their own issues in the proper forum. (With reports from Erwin P. Nicavera)

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