FASTLANES: Dongkoy outflanks Klarex. By BenCyrus G. Ellorin

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/17 May) — A grizzled political strategist was quoted by a local newspaper as describing the political campaign of First District Congressman Rolando Klarex Uy as all noise.

Everybody — from barbers to taxi drivers — seemed to be shouting Team Klarex’s eminent victory.

How would Emano regain the mayorship was the question. With the automated elections, many were wondering how Emano will play his trick. Will he still be able to bank on sleight of hand tactics? Gapuz was talking about the local political kingpin when they had a falling out way back in 2004.

I agree with Atty. Gapuz when he said that organizational skills was a significant waterloo of the first term congressman vying for the city’s top spot with his inexperienced son Rainier taking on his position as candidate for the congressional seat of the First District of the Cagayan de Oro.

As election day came near, it was becoming obvious that the political machinery of Team Klarex became very big, but that the growth and strength of the Emano machinery was also starting to become conspicuous.

Some describe it as a battle between two political machineries, with Uy’s machinery as big, young but its organizational discipline as suspect. Emano’s machinery was described as perhaps as big as Uy’s, but its organizational discipline was better than the young and often restless machinery of the Uys.

Even presuming that the command votes of Uy and Emano were even, and you add up the political machinery or command votes of Rufus Rodriguez to that of Uy, it was then safe to predict an Uy victory.

Money-wise, it can also be safe to assume they are even.

Many also thought that the A and B votes would further give the Uys more favor.

I did notice some masterful flanking moves of Emano on election day. Although I must admit that this cannot be independently verified

Voting had started very slow in almost all of the 358 clustered precincts in the city. PCOS machines were conking out for one reason or another all throughout the 61 polling centers spread in Cagayan de Oro’s 48,000-hectare land area.

At any time of the day, it can be safely claimed that the 358 PCOS machines in the city had registered a problem or two.

At 2 p.m., I went to the South City Central School in Nazareth to vote. I am a voter of Precinct 713A which was lumped with other precincts in Clustered Precinct 295. When I arrived there, I was given priority number 574. I stayed awhile, observing my precinct and the adjoining precinct.

I was aghast at knowing that at 3 pm. or a lapse of 70% of the total voting time (7 a.m. to 6 p.m.), the votes processed so far was about 30%.

They hit the 300 mark at around 3 o’clock p.m. My clustered precinct has 771 voters. The adjoining clustered precinct, with almost the same number of voters, was also moving at the same phase. I computed that at the rate of 37.5 votes per hour, voting would end in my precinct after 20.5 hours or at about 3 o’clock a.m. of May 11, 2010. At 75 percent voter turnout, it would be a little over 12 midnight.

With my priority number 574, I had computed to be able to vote at about 9 p.m. But I had to go back to my polling precinct at 6:30 in the evening as the polling center gates close at 7 p.m. I was about to cast my vote at about 7 p.m.

From 300 to 574 in four hours means that the voting phase in my precinct actually increased to 43.5 votes per hour in the 3 – 7 p.m. period. I had checked the other precincts in our polling center and also observed that voting was a lot faster in the same period.

From this data, I formulated these questions:

– Why was there a sudden increase in voting speed from about 3 o’clock p.m. onwards?
– Was the voting deliberately slowed down in the morning and early afternoon of May 10?
– Was the sudden increase in voting speed or faster turnout of priority numbers a result of people going home after hours of waiting and deciding not to vote anymore or were the machines simply functioning better as time wore on?

I have also observed that known supporters of Emano at least in my precinct were mostly there in the afternoon. Was there a deliberate strategy of advising the command voters of Dongkoy to go out and vote in the afternoon?

If this is validated, I must say that this is a masterful stroke of the local political kingpin. It is an effective flanking move of ordering one’s attack troops to stay clear of the hordes of voters in the morning. It should be noted that voters are advised to go early to their polling places to avoid the long lines. But what happened in the May 10 vote was that many people followed the advisories to go out early and vote and were greeted with the stampede of voters and “conking” voting machines.

With this masterful flanking move, I theorize that Dongkoy neutralized the A and B votes for Klarex assuming that these voters do not have the patience of going through long lines as many in these social classes do not even bother to vote compared to those in classes C, D and E. And assuming there was no sleight of hands by Dongkoy (this is a totally different story though), commanding his better disciplined voters to go out at an appointed time may have given Dongkoy that 2,130 votes lead over Klarex and his team.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. The writer is a community organizer, and environment and sustainable development advocate based in Cagayan de Oro. Comments can be sent to )