Del Mundo, a retired Air Force personnel, garnered 147 votes to foil the mayoralty bid of retired Navy officer Rodrigo Jaca, who got 86 votes.
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Kalayaan mayor wins reelection bid
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Kalayaan town Mayor Roberto del Mundo handily won his reelection bid as the top local chief executive of Palawan’s farthest municipality in the Spratlys archipelago. 

Del Mundo, a retired Air Force personnel, garnered 147 votes to foil the mayoralty bid of retired Navy officer Rodrigo Jaca, who got 86 votes.

During their active duty, Jaca and Del Mundo were previously deployed in Pag-asa Island, then a key garrison of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the Spratlys.

For the vice mayoralty race, Jaca’s runningmate Vicencio Milan also lost to Del Mundo’s partner Hermoso Ornopia. 

Milan got 67 votes while Ornopia garnered 164 votes in what appeared to be a political contest marred by allegations of vote buying, even in this remote part of the Philippines.

“From what we are hearing now, registered voters who no longer reside in the island were paid P10,000 each by their patrons for them to travel, all expenses paid, to the island town to cast their votes,” an official said.

The official added the elections were over in a few hours with the winners declared.

Pag-asa Island, now the seat of Kalayaan town, is home to more than 300 civilian residents, including children. 

Recent voting showed 236 “islanders,” including the returning registered voters recruited by their political patrons to boost chances of winning.

ROBERTO DEL MUNDO
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