The proclamation was done by two members of the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) of Tulunan, Cotabato.
The Comelec issued the nullification order when it reconvened at its main office in Intramuros, Manila at noon today. It also ordered the creation of a special MBOC, composed of election lawyers, to do the re-canvassing, this time, using as basis the second copies of the original election returns (ERs) presented to them by officials of two election watchdogs in Tulunan town — the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) and the Catholic Church-led Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRCV).
The Comelec orders comforted mayoralty candidate Lani Sarillo-Candolada, who, according to results of the earlier re-canvassing, landed only second to her strongest opponent, Mangudadatu.
Earlier, Juanito Condes and Jose Padilla, secretary and member of the Tulunan MBOC respectively, decided to re-canvass ERs from 17 contested polling precincts in Tulunan despite vehement opposition from Candolada’s camp.
Dante Parreñas, MBOC chair, chose to inhibit from the canvassing.
At around 7 a.m., today, Buluan vice-mayor Toto Mangudadatu, husband of Genalyn, made a public announcement through radio that his wife’s assumption to office “is even made convincing and realistic by the latest proclamation of the MBOC.”
Genalyn, he said, garnered 7,000 votes, which is about 2,000 higher than what Candolada got, in the mayoral post after the MBOC re-canvassed the election returns from the contested 17 polling precincts.
The report irked Candolada’s supporters in Tulunan who vowed to return to the streets to prevent Mangudadatu from taking the post.
“We again put our arms together, went to the town hall and prayed very, very hard. We asked God to intervene so that truth would prevail,” said Fr. Ronilo Villamor, DCK, leader of the PPCRV and Concerned Citizens for Truth, Justice, and Peace.