By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent
SANTIAGO CITY–About 1,000 villagers on Wednesday (May 11) took to the streets to condemn the alleged vote-buying, non-inclusion of 4,255 ballots, and other irregularities during the conduct of the May 9 elections here.
Carrying placards, the protesters allied with losing mayoral bet Joseph “Otep” Miranda and met with Santiago City acting election officer Wilma Binbinon and city police chief Col. Reynaldo Dela Cruz to thresh out the issues.
Miranda’s counsel, Nelia Natividad, and his father, former mayor Jose “Pempe” Miranda, claimed that they have documented incidents of massive vote-buying, the non-inclusion of 4,255 rejected and misread ballots that would have allegedly brought Miranda into victory, and other other election offenses.
Both Binbinon and Dela Cruz advised the protesters to file formal complaints with legal courts, the Commission on Elections, and the police, if necessary.
Isabela Fourth District Rep. Sheena Tan-Dy, who won the mayoral race here, has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Tan-Dy obtained 43, 416 votes, defeating Miranda, who got 42,631 votes—barely 785 votes separating the two.#