Zubiri, Calingasan proclaimed Bukidnon top execs

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/17 May) – The Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) in Bukidnon proclaimed governor-elect Jose Ma. Zubiri Jr. and vice governor-elect Alex Calingasan before 5 p.m. Friday, four days after the May 13 elections that was marred by defective precinct count optical scan machines (PCOS) and compact flash (CF) memory cards.

The 71-year old Zubiri, incumbent vice governor, obtained 347,338 votes against Lynard Allan Bigcas’ 47,314.

The 63-year old Calingasan, incumbent governor, won with 241,553 votes over board member Nemesio Beltran Jr., who got 73,891 votes.

The tandem repeated their feat in 2001 when both run for the same position—Zubiri as governor and Calingasan as vice governor— and served until 2010.

In 2010, they swapped positions, and swapped again in the 2013 elections.

Only Calingasan attended the proclamation. Zubiri was reported to have left for Manila Wednesday.

The proclamation took place even without the results from Malaybalay City, which was delayed due to defective PCOS machines and CF cards in a precinct each in three of the city’s 46 barangays.

Lawyer Carlito Ravelo, provincial election supervisor, said the results from Malaybalay City, even if counted, would not affect the standing in the gubernatorial and vice gubernatorial races.

Ravelo said that lawyer Gina Luna Zayas-Sabio, Malaybalay election officer, informed him that they will complete the canvassing Friday night.

Of the province’s 20 towns and two cities, only Malaybalay has yet to transmit the results as of 6 p.m. Friday.

The PBOC also proclaimed Bukidnon third district representative-elect Jose Ma. F. Zubiri III, who was a no-show. He is a son of governor-elect Zubiri.

Also proclaimed Friday afternoon were the board members-elect for the third district: Gordon Torres with 87,071 votes; Alfeo Baguio with 65,528; and Marivic Montesclaros with 62,841.

Proclamations were stalled Wednesday due to defective CF cards, causing delays in the canvassing of votes from the towns of Damulog, Manolo Fortich, Talakag, Maramag, Cabanglasan, Malaybalay City and Valencia City.

Ravelo blamed the delay in the arrival of replacement CF cards to the stalled canvassing.

The winners in the first and fourth districts for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan were the first to be proclaimed late Thursday night.

The opposition party’s lawyers did not question the partial but official results used as basis in the proclamation of Zubiri and Calingasan, even if a protest by a group led by Bigcas and defeated Malaybalay mayoralty bet Estelito Marabe was held in the other side of the Capitol Grounds Friday morning.

Alleging irregularities, the group sought a manual count of votes because of questionable PCOS machines.

Zubiri’s election for another term makes him the longest serving governor in the post-EDSA revolution history of Bukidnon.

He has surpassed Carlos Fortich, who was elected governor in 1992, 1995 and 1998. Fortich’s last term, however, was cut short because he resigned to run for Valencia City mayor, only to be defeated by former police chief Jose Galario Jr.

Galario won the Valencia City mayoralty race on Monday’s elections.

Reelectionist Mayor Ignacio Zubiri, nephew of governor-elect Zubiri, won a fresh term in Malaybalay City. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)