Reelectionist Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes and running mate Eliordo Ogena were expected to be proclaimed by the provincial board of canvassers (PBC) anytime this evening or early Saturday after the completion of the canvassing of election returns from the province's first district, Sto. Nino municipal election officer Leah Morales said.
As 4:30 pm, Morales said the PBC, led by Commission on Elections (Comelec) provincial supervisor Lilian Radam, were canvassing the election returns from Polomolok town.
The first district of South Cotabato covers the municipalities of Polomolok, Tupi, Tampakan and this city. The second district is composed of Koronadal City and the municipalities of Tantangan, Banga, Surallah, Norala, Sto. Nino, Lake Sebu and T'boli.
Fuentes, the NPC provincial chair, was leading over her two less known opponents by more than 70,000 votes while the unopposed Ogena already mustered 67,445 votes. The party slate also swept all the three seats in the first district and seven in the second district for the provincial board.
In the first congressional race, reelectionist Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio led by at least 30,000 votes over her better known opponent, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi). In the second district, Rep. Arthur Pingoy Jr. was elected to a third term after trouncing former South Cotabato governor Hilario de Pedro III of Kampi with a lead of more than 20,000 votes.
In this city, incumbents Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. and Vice Mayor Florentina Congson of NPC-Achievers with Integrity Movement were already assured of reelection with huge leads over former mayor Rosalita Nunez and running mate Francisco Gacal of Kampi.
The winning NPC stalwarts who were already proclaimed by the Comelec were Mayors Ernesto Manuel of T'boli, Antonio Damandaman of Sto. Nino, Romeo Januto of Norala, Salvador Lagos of Tantangan, Bienvenido Barroso of Tampakan, Isidro Lumayag of Polomolok, Valentin Mariano of Tupi, Isidro Janita of Banga, Basilio Salif of Lake Sebu and Romulo Solivio of Surallah.
NPC's mayoral bet in Koronadal City, incumbent Vice Mayor Jose Ledda Jr., lost however, to reelectionist Mayor Fernando Miguel of Kampi.