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In Negros Oriental, a barangay official wins via 'drawing of lots'

DUMAGUETE CITY — After ten days of campaigning and more than 18 hours of voting and counting, reelectionist Emerenciana Bantoto managed to keep her seat as Barangay Chairpreson of Baslay in Dauin town — via drawing of lots.

Bantoto won via luck of the draw over councilman Ruel Perez after a tie breaker held during a special meeting held on Wednesday at the Dauin municipal hall, around 20 kilometers from this city.

Bantoto's supporters were elated after two rounds of draw lots, she finally got the piece of paper that simply said "Congratulations!"

"Maghinaut ta nga magpadayon ang atong maayong relasyon sa usa'g usa, kay pareho ra tang nanerbisyo sa atong barangay [I hope that our good relationship will continue as we both serve our barangay]," she said to her opponent.

"Congratulations, 'ya Milie (aunt Milie)," Perez replied.

During the canvassing, both Bantoto and Perez earned 203 votes.

In Dumaguete City, meanwhile, among those elected as barangay chair is a member of the prominent Sagarbarria political family.

Ma. Isabel "Maisa" Sagarbarria, the wife of former Dumaguete City mayor and current Negros Oriental 2nd District Representative Manuel "Chiquiting" Sagarbarria, has been elected as the new barangay chairperson of Calindagan.

With 5,716 registered voters, Calindagan is the second biggest barangay in Dumaguete City.

Incumbent Roger Bohol, on the other hand, was reelected as barangay chairman of Taclobo, the biggest barangay in the city with 6,841 registered voters.

In Barangay Daro, the city's sixth biggest barangay, outgoing barangay kagawad Jovencio Tan Jr. gained the village chief post via a landslide victory.

Tan told GMA News Online that he will focus on programs for the youth and road rehabilitation once he takes office.

The other winners in Dumaguete's other major villages include Paciencio Maquiling (Banilad), Frankie Credo (Batinguel), Vincent Perigua (Bagacay), and Gregorio Oira (Candau-ay).

As of posting time, Comelec has yet to endorse the final and official results in all of Dumaguete's 30 barangays to the city local government.

When asked on Wednesday for his security assessment of the recent Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) polls, Negros Oriental Provincial Police Acting Director Senior Superintendent Raul Tacaca told GMA News Online: "Peaceful na peaceful."

This, despite the number of election watchlist areas (EWAs) in Negros Oriental rising from 73 to 90 just three days before Monday's polls.

Tacaca's assessment coincided with the Philippine Army's "generally peaceful" evaluation, adding that he credits the joint effort of the Comelec, police, military, and the voters themselves to make sure that there would be no violent incidents last Monday.

He added that even if he only assumed his new post last week, this did not affect security plans in the province as they were properly prepared by his predecessor, Senior Superintendent Edwin Portento. — BAP, GMA News