PUERTO PRINCESA CITY: At 7:15 a.m. Saturday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) here proclaimed incumbent Mayor Lucilo Bayron as the winner of the recall poll versus former mayor Edward Hagedorn.
Bayron, who garnered 44,299 (53 percent) votes versus Hagedorn’s 39,002 (47 percent) was proclaimed frontrunner by Gloria G. Ramos-Petallo, provincial election supervisor of Batangas, and chairman of the Board of Canvassers in this capital city.
The boards of election inspectors (BEI) started counting the ballots 3 p.m. Friday.
The first batch of ballot boxes arrived at the Victoriano J. Rodriguez Multi-Purpose Hall at the provincial capitol compound shortly before 6 p.m..
However, the members of the City BOC did not commence the canvassing until around 8 p.m. when the other ballot boxes started arriving from voting centers in outskirt barangays.
Members of the City BOC explained that the delay was also due to various groups that had camped outside the capitol compound gate, the return of BEIs of election paraphernalia to the Comelec, alleged attempt of the Hagedorn camp to stop the canvassing due to suspected tampered ballot boxes and missing BEI signatures on election returns, and threats of protest outside of the canvassing venue.
Speaking to reporters after his proclamation, Bayron wearing a light green shirt, said the recall poll did not incite anxiety in him at all because he was sure he would win based on the response of the residents in the barangays where he campaigned.
“Maybe for five months we can unite, thereafter, we can fight again, no problem. It’s okay with me; anyway, politics is really like that,” Bayron stated.
Bayron added that he is also “always open” to talk to Hagedorn, and that it is “maybe time to reconcile.”
Asked if he still has an ax to grind against Hagedorn, he said, “I don’t know about him, maybe he has against me.”
Asked if the recall poll made him nervous, Bayron was confident in saying he “slept early,” because his own camp’s quick count had comfortably given him the “picture” he wanted to see the night before.
“Sa ating pag-iikot, confident naman tayo na mananalo tayo sa laban na ito. Pero ang ini-expect ko nga mas malaki pa, but whatever reason, iyon ang naging kalamangan natin so, bastante na iyon (In the rounds that we made, we’re confident that we will win this fight. But I was actually expecting to win by a large margin, however, for whatever reason, that was how much we won, and that is enough),” he stated.
Asked if there is a possibility that he would tandem again with Hagedorn in the 2016 election, Bayron categorically said “it is far from happening.”
He said his triumph is not only his, but the residents of Puerto Princesa who made their vote counts.
He said he is eager to go back to work again for the development of Puerto Princesa, and that he actually never stopped working.
Out of 127,162 registered voters in this city, 83,301 or 65.5 percent went out Friday to participate in the recall poll.