Ronnel Rivera proclaimed winner in GenSan mayor race

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/14 May) — The city’s board of canvassers (CBOC) proclaimed before noon on Tuesday top councilor Ronnel Rivera of the People’s Champ Movement-United Nationalist Alliance (PCM-UNA) as the winner in Monday’s election for mayor.

Lawyer Marlon Casquejo, acting city election officer and CBOC chair, said Rivera garnered a total of 93,535 votes, receiving the “highest number of votes legally cast for the said office” based on final and official results of the May 13 elections here.

Incumbent mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio of the administration-backed Liberal Party-Achiever’s with Integrity Movement (LP-AIM) received around 79,053 votes in the final count.

The CBOC, which included city prosecutor Edilberto Jamora as vice chair and city schools division superintendent Diosdado Ablanido as third member, made the official proclamation at around 11:30 a.m. after completing the canvassing of votes for the city’s 298 clustered precincts.

Also proclaimed was Rivera’s running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Shirlyn Banas-Nograles, who won by landslide over LP-AIM vice mayoral bet Eduardo Leyson III.

Nograles received 107,868 total votes while Leyson only got 56,051 votes.

In the city council race, seven PCM-UNA bets and five others from LP-AIM were proclaimed by the CBOC as winners.

PCM-UNA’s Dominador Lagare III was elected as top councilor followed by Elizabeth Bagonoc (LP-AIM), Ramon Melliza (PCM-UNA), Franklin Gacal Jr. (PCM-UNA), Rosalita Nunez (PCM-UNA), Shandee Llido (PCM-UNA), Brix Tan (PCM-UNA), Richard Atendido (LP-AIM), Arturo Cloma (PCM-UNA), Vivencio Dinopol (LP-AIM), Marius Oco (LP-AIM) and Eduardo Leyson IV (LP-AIM).

Lagare, Bagonoc, Atendido, Dinopol, Oco and Leyson are incumbents while Melliza and Gacal were returning councilors.

Nunez is a former two-term mayor of the city.

Rivera, who is a son of a local tuna fishing magnate, credited his upset win over the incumbent mayor to “God’s will” and the “people’s hunger for genuine change” in the city.

He topped the city council race in the 2010 elections with a record number of votes despite running as an independent.

“I knew that I was leading right from the start based on various surveys and I used that as inspiration to even work and campaign harder,” he told reporters.

Rivera said his campaign was anchored on a platform of change, focusing on providing better basic services for the people and right use of the city government’s resources.

He said his upcoming administration will specifically focus on upgrading the city’s health systems and services, providing educational assistance and opening more livelihood opportunities for residents.

“I will work on these targets in my first 100 days in office,” Rivera added. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)