Pacquiao allies dominate GenSan polls

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/10 May) — Incumbent City Mayor Ronnel Rivera posted a convincing win in Monday’s elections for his second consecutive term at the city hall.

Rivera, who ran under local political party People’s Champ Movement (PCM) led by Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, garnered a total of 117,120 votes based on the final and official tally released by the Commission on Elections here on Tuesday morning.

His closest rival, outgoing City Councilor Richard Atendido of the Liberal Party-Achievers with Integrity Movement (LP-AIM) coalition, mustered 66,160 votes while independent candidate Panfilo Alvarez III only got 1,751 votes.

The mayor’s running mate, incumbent Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles, won her third straight term with 109,197 votes over LP-AIM’s Loreto Acharon who received 65,619 votes.

In the city council race, the PCM further tightened its grip over the legislative body after taking nine of the 12 contested seats.

The party took control of the city council in the 2013 elections after winning seven of the seats while LP-AIM, which had dominated the body for over two decades, took five seats.

Elizabeth Bagonoc of the LP-AIM was elected as top councilor, followed by Alberto Pacquiao (PCM), Rosalita Nuñez (PCM), Jose Orlando Acharon (LP-AIM), Dominador Lagare Jr. (PCM), Franklin Gacal Jr. (PCM), Shandee Llido-Pestano (PCM), Jose Edmar Yumang (PCM), Van-van Congson (PCM), Lourdes Casabuena (LP-AIM), Ramon Melliza (PCM), and Brix Tan (PCM).

Rivera vowed to work harder and push ahead with his agenda to further improve the city’s socioeconomic gains these past years.

“I’m very grateful to our people for the trust, and for giving me and my team another chance to serve them as well as lead the city. Now we can focus on continuing what we have started and move ahead with our other plans for the city,” he told reporters.

The mayor said among the top priorities of his administration would be the immediate passage of the city’s updated comprehensive land-use plan and the improvement of the area’s transportation system.

He said the local government will fully support the long-delayed development of the Mindanao campus here of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST).

The project received a major boost earlier this month with the approval by the Department of Agrarian Reform of the conversion or reclassification of its 80-hectare land in Barangays Ligaya and Katangawan here from agricultural to institutional use.

The Manila-based university had been planning to embark on several multi-million peso projects in the city, among them the establishment of an agricultural research institution and a medical school.

Rivera, a son of a local tuna fishing magnate, posted an upset win in the 2013 polls over then mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio.

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

Meantime, the city’s board of canvassers headed by city election officer, lawyer Richard Opinion, was scheduled to convene at 1 p.m. Tuesday to formally proclaim the winning candidates.

It scheduled the proclamation early Tuesday but was deferred due to a technical problem that affected the printing of the statement of votes cast in the city’s 363 polling precincts. (MindaNews)