Piñol concedes; accuses foe of vote-buying

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews/15 May) – Former Cotabato governor Emmanuel Piñol had conceded defeat Tuesday afternoon to incumbent Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza.

Piñol, however, said his rival won by giving away rice and money to entice the voters, a claim refuted by the latter.

In his website, Piñol wrote: “It is painful to realize that many of the people I loved and cared for succumbed to the temptations of rice and money.”

He added: “It is all the more painful to realize that many of our so-called political leaders and even our religious leaders have closed their eyes to the excesses and abuses of the current leadership just because of thick wads of money.”

But Mendoza, who also defeated Piñol in 2010, said she won based on accomplishments and performance.

She said that with her estimated margin of 35,000 votes it would be expensive for her to resort to vote-buying.

Partial and unofficial results posted on the GMA News website showed that the incumbent governor had garnered 168,019 votes and her opponent 134,668 votes.

Mendoza particularly walloped Piñol in her hometown Carmen. In an initial result as of 8p.m. Tuesday posted on the Commission on Elections website, Mendoza got 9,529 votes while the former governor only had 296 votes.

But before conceding, Piñol had earlier posted in his website that the towns of Carmen and Pikit may decide the fate of his candidacy.

“While in the unofficial results from the Election Returns as of 12:30 a.m. today showed that I was still leading by over 15,000 votes, the results from Carmen town, the base of my political opponent showed that I almost got no votes while she gained 25,000 votes out of the 26,025 registered voters in the town for an incredible turn out,” he wrote.

But Mendoza retorted: “He can say what he wants.”

In Piñol’s hometown M’lang, initial results posted on the Comelec website as of 8pm Tuesday showed he led Mendoza by 2,000 votes.

The former governor also lamented that he lost by a big margin in Pikit town. “In Pikit town, I also got clobbered by over 16,000 votes which means that when these results from these two towns come in, I would lose my lead and trail by almost 30,000 votes.”

In the May 2010 elections, Mendoza garnered 236,966 votes against Piñol’s 199,332.

Piñol filed an electoral protest claiming irregularities during the balloting. He said the election was “seriously tainted and defective” in about 1,280 precincts.

But in June 2012, the Comelec dismissed the case for lack of merit. (Keith Bacongco/Mindanews)