ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/14 May)– Riding on the platform of a better peace and order situation, a retired police officer appears headed for victory as mayor of this city.
Celsio Regencia, a former city police director, has so far garnered 33,754 votes while closest rivals Henry Dy had 29,252 and Franklin Quijano 11, 292 based on results posted on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) website as of 7am Tuesday.
A win by Regencia will make him the first retired police official to become mayor of this city.
As of Tuesday morning, 59% of the city’s 1,007 precincts (173 clusters) in 44 barangays had been canvassed.
Comelec said Iligan has 139,390 registered voters but based on digitized tallies posted on its website, only 80,546 voters cast their vote on Monday.
Regencia gained broad support after Davao City Vice Mayor Rodrigo Duterte publicly endorsed his candidacy aside from being backed by Senator Panfilo Lacson, said 44-year old taxi driver Jun Manuel.
Regencia is a staunch critic of the ongoing peace process between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, particularly the proposed inclusion of some barangays in Iligan in the botched Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.
His campaign focused on suppressing rising criminality and syndicates. Among the prevalent crimes here are shooting incidents and illegal drug trade.
Five other candidates ran for city mayor — Giovannie Encabo, Rel Bendanillo, Joel Naga, Samuel Acut, Ismail Malangas and Yuri Taongan. (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)