Arayat mayor to losers: Respect people’s will
- Ding Cervantes () - May 17, 2004 - 12:00am
ARAYAT, Pampanga — This town’s outgoing mayor called on the supporters of losing mayoral candidates to "respect the people’s will" and resort to legal means to redress their electoral grievances.

This, as violence nearly erupted at the municipal hall last Saturday as followers of mayoral bet Mel Lumbang staged a rally.

Similar protest actions by supporters of losing candidates have also been reported in other Pampanga towns.

The municipal board of canvassers has proclaimed Chito Espino, nephew of Mayor Benigno Espino, as the new mayor of Arayat amid protests from Lumbang’s camp. Espino scored a margin of over 4,000 votes.

Election officials holed up for hours inside the municipal hall’s canteen amid threats of violence from the protesters whom anti-riot policemen eventually pacified.

The elder Espino, who decided to retire from politics to give way to his nephew’s mayoral bid, urged the losing candidates to talk to their supporters.

"Any complaints about the elections should be brought to the attention of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and should not be allowed to disrupt the return to normalcy after the elections," he said.

In Mabalacat, meanwhile, municipal employees were not able to get their salaries last Friday after local officials decided to close the doors of the town hall as a security measure as scores of supporters of losing candidate Anthony Dee staged a protest rally against re-electionist Mayor Marino Morales.

Earlier, the Comelec’s second division delisted Morales from the list of mayoral candidates due to a petition seeking his disqualification for purportedly having served as mayor for three terms.

But Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. reversed the decision two days before the May 10 elections, saying that the second division’s ruling was not final and executory.

In the City of San Fernando, supporters of losing candidate former Immigration Commissioner Andrea Domingo have been holding rallies at City Hall.

ANTHONY DEE BENJAMIN ABALOS SR. BUT COMELEC CHITO ESPINO CITY HALL COMELEC IMMIGRATION COMMISSIONER ANDREA DOMINGO IN MABALACAT IN THE CITY OF SAN FERNANDO MAYOR BENIGNO ESPINO MAYOR MARINO MORALES
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