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Sun.Star Cebu: Bets concede defeat in Cebu, Mandaue

May 16, 2007 9:41am

SunStar: CEBU CITY -- The mayor race in the cities of Cebu and Mandaue saw two contenders for the top post admitting defeat.

Mary Ann de los Santos conceded to Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña and Acting Mandaue City Mayor Amadeo Seno Jr. to rivals Jonas Cortes and Thadeo Jovito Ouano.

Even before the city-level canvassing of votes can begin, de los Santos gave in to Mayor Tomas Osmeña, saying that Goliath has won the battle.

De los Santos said she does not want to prolong the waiting period and will just rely on the results based on the election results from the poll precincts and the initial results of their quick-count, which showed that she trailed Osmeña in the mayoral race.

“The people have spoken that they still want Tomas to lead the city. I have no regrets because it was a very enriching experience for me. At least I took the challenge, at least I’ve given the people an alternative and that I let democracy work in the city," she told Sun.Star Cebu.

De los Santos said she was not able to put up a good fight because of the lack of time, organization and money for an extensive campaign.

She gracefully accepted her defeat and did not accuse anyone of cheating her in the elections.

“Pildi ko. I’m not doing good in the south district, and even in the north. Time is not with me, I came very late in the campaign and I did not have the money and organization. I relied on the organization of Jonathan Guardo 101 percent and I think wala maka deliver," she said in a phone interview.

While she admitted that Tribu Guardo’s organization did not work, she said she is not blaming congressional candidate for the south district Jonathan Guardo for her defeat.

De los Santos, who is also Lahug barangay captain, won in her precinct with 110 votes while Osmeña got only 41 votes. But she also lost heavily in Osmeña’s precinct in Camputhaw.

For his part, Guardo told radio dyLA that he will not concede until the last election return is canvassed by the Board of Canvassers.

As of Tuesday night, Tribu Guardo/Genuine Opposition vice mayoral candidate Raymond Garcia said he will not concede yet and will just call for a press conference on Friday.

At the Department of Education (DepEd) Ecotech Center where the canvassing of votes is ongoing, Osmeña said the results of the election showed that the city’s residents cannot be bought.

He claims to have won in all barangays in the south and north districts, except in Lahug and Tinago.

“This election is a very big test and I’m very happy because vote-buying has not been tested here for the last 40 years…. I’m very proud because it practically had no effect in the elections. If naa man gani, gamay ra kaayo," said the mayor.

In Mandaue, the Seno camp threw in the towel after a “poll trending" showed Amadeo was faring poorly.

For his part, Ouano acknowledged that he is behind Cortes by 1,000 to 2,000 votes but he is not giving up yet.

Two sources close to the Ouanos, however, said in separate interviews that they already surrendered.

The Cortes camp, on the other hand, claimed at least 70 percent of all votes in Jonas’ favor.

Cortes told Sun.Star Cebu Tuesday night that he is enjoying a “comfortable lead" over his opponents and he remains confident with it.

However, he will not pull out his watchers at the canvassing of votes at the Mandaue City Cultural and Sports Complex.

In an interview over radio dyLA, Seno said that with Cortes’ win, there will be a change in leadership at City Hall.

Seno said that he already called up Cortes to congratulate him. He is even willing to be Cortes’ consultant at City Hall.

Seno said the factors that played in his loss include his lack budget and barangay leaders.

He was banking on his credentials, adding that he is the most qualified among the candidates.

The turnout was disappointing, said his brother, Malcolm, pointing out that it wasn’t the same as the figures that Amadeo garnered when the latter ran for mayor in 1988 and 1992.

He added that in Ading’s candidacy in 1988 and 1992, they were able to field at least 12 workers per precinct.

Malcolm said that his brother also lacked the time to campaign after Amadeo was appointed acting city mayor following the six-month preventive suspension on Mayor Thadeo Ouano for the Asean lamps purchase mess.

In Cebu City, Mayor Osmeña said he was surprised with the wide margin he got in Barangay Luz, whose residents were supposed to be the beneficiaries of the aborted land swap deal between the City and Capitol.

This only showed that the land swap issue that was used against him by the opposition during the campaign didn’t work, he told reporters.

He also claims to have won in Barangay Pasil, whose barangay officials have defected to the opposition.

“If Guardo had won, we would have had to realign ourselves and check who can be bought. Those who defected, we will still support their barangays but don’t expect to be part of the chain of command," Osmeña said.

As she goes back to focusing on her barangay, de los Santos said she will also give her support to Osmeña and the City Council for their projects, including the South Road Properties (SRP).

As for the complaint that her supporter Tinago Barangay Captain Joel Garganera filed against city officials for illegally disposing of the SRP, de los Santos will just let the court resolve the matter.

“I will support their administration and I will never be an obstructionist. We’re not anti-Cebu City or anti-SRP but whatever they need to correct in relation to the ownership and disposal of the SRP, I hope they will correct it," she said.

The barangay captain would not say yet what her plans are for the 2010 elections, saying the next election is a long way off and she would rather concentrate on infrastructure projects in her barangay. - Sun.Star Cebu
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