BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: As the three-term woman governor leaves her post, another woman is set to take over the top position in the province come June 30.
Gov.-elect Ruth Padilla will take over the reins of the provincial government in the capitol from three-term Gov. Luisa Cuaresma, the second elected woman governor in this landlocked province.
Former Commissioner Ruth Padilla of the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) during the Arroyo regime, is the wife of reelected Rep. Carlos Padilla who will serve his 29th year in the House of Representatives.
Outgoing Cuaresma of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) ran for the lone congressional seat of Nueva Vizcaya but lost to her former ally Padilla of the Nationalist Party (NP).
However, the incoming woman governor is facing an election protest lodged against her by a rival for the gubernatorial post.
Ruth Padilla of the NP trounced three-term Vice Gov. Jose Gambito of the UNA and two others during the May 13 elections.
Blaming the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines that cost him the governor’s post, Gambito has filed an election protest against Ruth Padilla.
In the PCOS count, Ruth Padilla obtained 69,637 votes against Gambito’s 50,482.
Two other rivals, Donna Lyn Gerdan of the Liberal Party (LP) garnered 35,059 votes while three-term Bayombong town mayor John Bagasao of the Partido ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) got 12,194 votes.
In his election protest lodged before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), Gambito said that a manual audit of the ballots cast would have him the overwhelming choice for governor here.
Citing a poll exit survey, Gambito claims he is the winner in the last elections with a landslide vote of 96,896 as against Padilla’s 54,846. Gerdan and Bagasao only got 14,625 and 16,454 votes, respectively.
Amid calls to end political dynasty in the country, the victory of the Padillas is the first husband and wife tandem to serve and occupy the province’s top two positions at the same time.
However, supporters of Gambito are hopeful that Padilla will be dislodged from the governorship once the manual counting accounted all the ballots cast for the said post.
“My protest could be a test case for the country’s electoral system. My crusade is not just about the governorship but the credibility of the PCOS machines,” Gambito told mediamen in the province.
“I believe this is well planned and pre-programmed automated misscanning, miscounting and misappreciation of the shaded ovals of the ballots representing my votes,” Gambito said.
Gambito’s protest if ever granted by the Comelec, ballots cast in all the 379 clustered precincts in the 13 out of the province’s 15 municipalities will be manually counted.
“The transmission of votes from the questioned precincts were doctored and distorted, and due to malfunctioned and defective PCOS machines as well as pre-programmed and pre-configured compact flash, among others,” Gambito said.