Binays back in Makati

Mike Frialde - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines - At exactly 4:16 a.m. Tuesday, former Makati City 2nd District Rep. Mar-Len Abigail “Abby” Binay-Campos (UNA) was proclaimed by the board of election canvassers as the new mayor of the city, marking the return of the Binay family at the political helm of the country’s premier business capital.

Campos-Binay defeated her rival, Liberal Party candidate and outgoing Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña with 152,859 votes garnered. Peña got 137,329 votes while independent candidate Jimmy Jumawan got 1,755 votes.

Canvassed at the Makati Coliseum were 299,857 votes. Makati City has 379,303 registered voters.

Also proclaimed winner as the city’s new vice mayor was former Makati 1st District Rep. Monique Lagdameo (UNA) who got 165,894 votes trouncing Liberal Party bet Karla Mercado who got 103,209. Independent candidates Glenn Enciso and Edgardo Padrigon meanwhile got 5,055 and 1,877 votes, respectively.

The Binay-led slate also took control of the 15-member Makati City Council, losing only two seats to Peña’s slate. Among those proclaimed as new councilors were actor Virgilio “Jhong” HIlario and singer Rico J. Puno who both run under Binay’s UNA banner.

Proclaimed as Makati’s new 1st District Rep. was actor and former councilor Monsour del Rosario while proclaimed Makati’s new 2nd District Rep. was Abby’s husband Luis Campos.

Tension meanwhile gripped the canvassing of votes after the official tallying was suspended at about 9:11 p.m. with 88.01 percent of the votes cast.

According Peña’s camp, their supporters prevented the transfer of election paraphernalia and vote counting machines to the City Treasurer’s Office after complaining of alleged cheating.

Peña’s supporters also claimed that the outgoing mayor did not get a single vote in at least three schools that served as polling precincts in the city’s second district-known as his bailiwick.

At about 8 p.m., Peña’s supporters started barricading the gates of the Benigno Aquino High School and prevented the transport of election paraphernalia.

Some 117 teachers at the Rizal Elementary School who served as members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) found themselves trapped by Peña’s supporters who refused to let them out along with the questioned election paraphernalia and vote-counting machines.

Peña supporters also barricaded the gates of the Cembo Elementary School.

The tension later simmered down after Peña instructed his supporters to allow the transfer of the questioned election paraphernalia to a secured Commission on Elections (Comelec) area and allow the counting of votes to continue. The teachers at the Rizal Elementary School were able to safely leave the school building later.

Reached for comment about the incidents at the three District 2 schools, Binay-Campos said Peña’s supporters did not understand the vote counting process.

“Di ‘ata nila naintindihan ‘yung proseso. Kasi nga ‘di ba trina-transmit ‘yung resulta. If they stop or interfere in the transport of election paraphernalia, (it) is an election offense. Baka ‘yun hindi nila alam. And it's also a sign of desperation, ‘di ba? It seems na ayaw nilang respetuhin ‘yung resulta, kaya gusto nila manual (counting of votes),” Binay-Campos said.

“I mean they are actually demanding for a manual counting. Kung magpapa-manual counting ka dapat may petition ka, dapat may lawyer ka, I mean my proseso yan, hindi ‘yung pwedeng magbabarikada, ibabarikada mo yung eskwelahan at hindi mo papalabas yung gamit, yung balota dahil meron tayong prosesong sinusundan,” she added.

BInay-Campos also belied the claim of Peña’s camp that they were engaged in cheating.

“Okay, first of all hindi kami pwedeng-pwede mandaya dahil unang-una hindi kami ‘yung nakaupo. Siya (Peña) ang incumbent. Pangalawa, hindi rin kami administration candidate. He has, he has the machinery for that hindi kami,” she said.

On October 9 last year, the Office of the Ombudsman dismissed former Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin “Junjun” Binay from service and ordered his perpetual disqualification from public office due to an administrative case filed against him.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales then ordered the dismissal of Binay for grave misconduct and serious dishonesty.

The Ombudsman also recommended to ban Junjun from seeking public office.

Binay was earlier ordered suspended also by the Office of the Ombudsman for his involvement in the alleged overpriced construction of the Makati City Science High School building.

The Ombudsman dismissed Binay in connection to the anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall building II worth P2.28 billion.

Last July 1, prior to the issuance of the Ombudsman’s dismissal order, Binay stepped down as city mayor pending the resolution of his petition before the Court of Appeals for a temporary restraining order. His petition was not granted by the Appellate Court.

After he stepped down, Peña took over as acting city mayor.

Binay, on the other hand, had virtually barricaded himself inside his office at the 21st floor of the Makati City Hall after the Office of the Ombudsman, on June 29, slapped a six-month suspension on him over his involvement in the allegedly anomalous construction of the Makati City Hall Building 2.

On October 15, Binay’s sister, Makati Rep. Mar-Len Abigail "Abby" Binay filed her certificate of candidacy (COC) for mayor in his place together with Makati 1st district Rep. Monique Lagdameo as her running mate.

Political pundits have predicted a showdown at the local polls as Peña who also filed his COC as city mayor vowed to dismantle the Binay dynasty in Makati and institute reforms. 

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