‘Winner’ in barangay polls in Kidapawan refuses post

KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / 22 May)– Believing he was erroneously declared winner by the Board of Election Canvassers (BEC) as barangay councilor in the just concluded elections, a candidate here refused to take the post.

Jerome Recosana told Barangay chairman Julia Abrea of Barangay Junction in Kidapawan City that he does not deserve a seat in the council.

Vased on the statement of votes and certificate of canvass, Recosana garnered 186 votes. But he could not accept the result: “But in truth, I only got 86. Not 186. I know there was error in the recording.”

The winning candidates, including Recosana, were declared around 11 p.m. on May 14 by the BEC chaired by Glenn Tupaz, principal of Singao Elementary School, and members Florentina Monares and Carmen Igcalinos.

During the proclamation, there were no watchers present, Abrea noted.

“As candidates, we were not allowed to enter the polling precincts so we had our watchers monitor and record the process. To our surprise, our watchers left the precinct even before the winners had been proclaimed,” she said.

Abrea said the seventh slot of the barangay council should have been awarded to Helen Ompoc, who, based on BEC records, garnered 186 voters.

“It was Ompoc who got the real 186 votes, and not Recosana. We can only blame the BEC here,” she stressed.

When the city election registrar, lawyer Myla Luna, asked for an explanation from the BEC involved, they told her that it was an honest mistake and they had no intention to declare a wrong winner.

“The teachers were all exhausted and tired. It had been two days that they’d been working on the barangay and [Sangguniang Kabataan] elections,” said Luna.

But Abrea and Ompoc could not accept the BEC’s reason.

“As BEC members, it is their duty to declare the rightful winners in the elections. The first mistake they did was when they allowed the watchers to leave the polling precinct even before they could finish their job,” said Abrea.

Ompoc was told to file complaints at the local court if she feels aggrieved, according to Luna.

There was also a suggestion that the council appoints Ompoc to the position.

Ompoc, however, refused. “I don’t want the appointment. Why should I? I am the rightful winner in this election,” she argued.

Luna said that if Recosana would not take the post, then it would be declared vacant. But Ompoc could not take the post automatically as there would be a “due process” that should be followed first. (Malu Cadelina Manar / MindaNews)