Iligan canvassing moving at snail’s pace

It was not an expression of frustration, but an affirmation of the expected delays. This merited smiles from her co-teachers who sat with her at a corner of the overcrowded legislative hall where the Comelec was canvassing election returns.

"As of 4 p.m. today, a total of 124 precincts were already canvassed," said another teacher, Dante Sumagang, a member of a sub-committee in-charge of recording serial numbers of canvassed ERs. Iligan has 1,004 precincts from 44 barangays with 149,246 registered voters.

"Delays are incurred because the Comelec examines the details of returns; some BEIs need to be called because of unfilled statistical data of returns; and lawyers of candidates raise some queries and objections," he explained.

Nonetheless, "no ER was discounted so far," he added.

"Looks like the Comelec canvassing will last for weeks. It's better to scrutinize the details and be certain of the records than commit unforgivable lapses though," commented Dr. Melchie Ambalong, commissioner of the Mindanao Commission on Women (MCW) and convenor of the Parish Pastoral Councilor for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

The canvassing area was crowded with paralegals, watchers, counsels, teachers and volunteers.

Outside the legislative hall, members of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) gathered and guarded their copies of election returns on the floor.

The Comelec has not displayed its official statistics of votes from canvassed ERs, but Namfrel's Operation Quick Count 2007 tally board is placed outside the Catholic church downtown, thanks to the help of the PPCRV, the church's National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), Ma. Cristina Chemical Industries (MCCI), People's Alliance for Credible Elections (Peace), other NGOs, and the Knights of Columbus.

Namfrel's initial count showed that opposition first district congressional candidate Varf Belmonte garnered 35,381 votes as against his political rivals Nikki Badelles (21,896), Imelda Quibranza Dimaporo (12,843), Leo Zaragoza (5,715) and Jojo Borja (274).

Reelectionist Mayor Lawrence Cruz had 51,260 votes as against Franklin Quijano's 15,661 and Alejo Yañez's 3,252. Cruz's two rivals were former mayors themselves, holding two successive terms each.

For the senatorial bets, partial results showed that those who made it to the "magic twelve" are Francis Joseph Escudero (53,571), Panfilo Lacson (52,497), Loren Legarda (51,244), Benigno Aquino III (45,344), Manuel Villar Jr. (44,269), Aquilino Pimentel III (42,621), Gregorio Honasan (42,227), Antonio Trillanes IV (40,248), Francis Pangilinan (39,096), Allan Cayetano (37,457), Juan Miguel Zubiri (34,881) and Edgrado Angara (33,007).

Meanwhile, Iliganon voters apparently were not very interested on the party list as many of them did not bother to write their party of choice.

"They may have either forgotten the party list or they are too focused on voting for national and local candidates only, or they aren't educated on the importance of the party list yet," lamented Richel Bores, a watcher for Anak Mindanao.

Around the city, garbage collectors removed and swept off candidates' posters, especially in commercial areas. But the heavy rains stopped them from finishing their work.

Since the start of the campaign period, walls, trees, electric posts, buildings and even vehicles were saturated with posters and streamers of candidates. (Violeta M. Gloria / MindaNews)

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For the senatorial bets, partial results showed that those who made it to the "magic twelve" are Francis Joseph Escudero (53,571), Panfilo Lacson (52,497), Loren Legarda (51,244), Benigno Aquino III (45,344), Manuel Villar Jr. (44,269), Aquilino Pimentel III (42,621), Gregorio Honasan (42,227), Antonio Trillanes IV (40,248), Francis Pangilinan (39,096), Allan Cayetano (37,457), Juan Miguel Zubiri (34,881) and Edgrado Angara (33,007).

Meanwhile, Iliganon voters apparently were not very interested on the party list as many of them did not bother to write their party of choice.

"They may have either forgotten the party list or they are too focused on voting for national and local candidates only, or they aren't educated on the importance of the party list yet," lamented Richel Bores, a watcher for Anak Mindanao.

Around the city, garbage collectors removed and swept off candidates' posters, especially in commercial areas. But the heavy rains stopped them from finishing their work.

Since the start of the campaign period, walls, trees, electric posts, buildings and even vehicles were saturated with posters and streamers of candidates. (Violeta M. Gloria / MindaNews)

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