GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 May) – Had it been a boxing match, the referee could have declared it a first round knockout win by boxing champion Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao.
Relying on his vaunted fame and fortune, Pacquiao practically stunned administration stalwart Roy Chiongbian with an early convincing lead in the race for the lone congressional seat of Sarangani Province.
As of 9:00 am Tuesday, the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion-turned politician already amassed 93,133 votes compared to Chiongbian’s 58,736.
The results were based on partial unofficial results coming from Commission on Elections (Comelec) offices of Sarangani’s seven municipalities.
Pacquiao, who banners his own local political party People’s Champ Movement (PCM), is also leading the initial counts in majority of the province’s 379 clustered precincts, according to transmitted election results received by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodcaster ng Pilipinas and election watchdog Parish Pastoral Coouncil for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
The boxing champion, who is personally monitoring the ongoing canvassing of votes and other related developments in Sarangani, said he is so far satisfied with the initial results of the elections in the area.
“I always felt good with our chances (of winning). It’s too early to celebrate but I think that’s where were headed right now,” he told reporters.
In the 2007 elections, Pacquiao, then a resident of this city, joined the race for the first congressional district seat of South Cotabato but he lost to incumbent Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio.
He has since moved his official residence to Kiamba, his wife Jinkee’s hometown, to allow him to join the political arena in Sarangani.
Meantime, in the province’s gubernatorial race, reelectionist Gov. Miguel Rene Dominguez of administration coalition Lakas-Kampi-CMD-Sarangani Reconciliation and Reformation Organization (Sarro) is currently leading with 53,432 votes but his lone opponent, PCM’s Juan Domino, is trying to catch up with 47,827 votes.
Dominguez’ running mate Steve Solon is also leading the race for the vice gubernatorial seat with 50,583 while PCM’s Fredo Basino is running close with 47,476 votes.
Ronnie de Castro, election assistant of the Sarangani Comelec office, said over the phone Tuesday morning that they cannot yet release the official results as the canvassing of votes in the municipal level was still ongoing.
He said they convened the provincial board of canvassers Tuesday morning but that they were still waiting for the official results from the municipal level.
So far, he said only the municipality of Maitum has turned in complete official results to the provincial board of canvassers at the Sarangani provincial capitol in Alabel town. But De Castro said they expect to process all results from the six other towns by Tuesday afternoon.
“The (official) results are coming in as we speak. As soon as the transmittal from the municipal level is completed, we will relay it to the provincial board of canvassers for the official tally and possibly the proclamation of the winning candidates,” he added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)