Comelec proclaims Sen. Ninoy Aquino mayor as winner

Flauta won over Manganaan, a retired policeman turned businessman by 86 votes in 2004. This year, he won by over a thousand margin, Flauta’s sister, Beth told MindaNews.

Namfrel’s count showed Manganaan winning by 604 votes – 5,890 votes against Flauta’s 5,286.

Manganaan said they were protesting the proclamation.

The Namfrel tally based on the sixth copy of the election returns from the town’s 116 precincts was available by May 15.

Flauta’s proclamation on Wednesday came exactly a week after canvassing was suspended because of two explosions behind the Sangguniang Bayan session hall on May 16. Canvassing resumed at 3:40 p.m. on May 21.

When MindaNews visited late Sunday afternoon, the residents said they had kept vigil since the explosions Wednesday night, taking over practically the entire municipal hall, with makeshift placards announcing “boto ko, ipaglaban ko” (my vote, I will fight for) or “boto ko, huwag ilayo” (my vote, don’t move), the latter in response to reports the canvassing of votes would be done in Isulan, the capital town of Sultan Kudarat, 80 kilometers downhill

The entry in the police blotter that evening of May 16 said that at around 7:15 p.m., “two big explosions were heard at the back portion of SNA Learning Center building located at the back of the SB Session Hall this municipality where canvassing of votes were held followed by gunfiring. Investigation conducted disclosed that the canvassing of votes by the Board of Canvassers was ongoing when the explosions took place. Investigation further disclosed that while the gunfiring was going on, Mr. Melecano Bernan, election officer of this municipality and Atty. Herculano Taglaogin ran outside of the canvassing area and rode on their service vehicle with their police escort, certain P01 Deocampo and P01 Bernan sped off heading towards Isulan, SK, allegedly bringing with them certificates of canvass. Recovered from the place where the Comelec vehicles were parked just at the back of the Session Hall were statement of votes believed to be parts of the stolen documents. Also recovered thereat were several empty shell of M16 rifle. No person was injured in the incident.”