Pineda declared winner in recount
What’s in a name?
For Lilia Pineda, a close ally of President Macapagal-Arroyo popularly known as “Nanay Baby”, it meant finally getting the gubernatorial seat of Pampanga.
On Thursday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) unseated Pampanga Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio, a Catholic priest-turned-politician, and declared Pineda, whose husband is widely known as a “jueteng,” or illegal numbers, kingpin, the winner of the 2007 elections.
The Comelec Second Division said Pineda, a former provincial board member, was the “duly elected governor” of Pampanga after an appreciation of the votes from 21 towns and cities in the province showed that she had an edge of 2,011 votes over Panlilio.
“I don’t know if I’ll be happy or sad,” Pineda said. With an expected appeal, she said the case was far from resolved.
“I’m not even giving it attention,” she added.
“A priest has no capability to harass,” Panlilio countered. “A candidate with no party in 2007 does not have the machinery to cheat and buy votes.”
Malacañang urged the parties to abide by the Comelec ruling.
“We accept the wisdom and discretion of the Comelec,” said Gary Olivar, deputy presidential spokesperson. “We urge everyone to get into the habit of respecting due process whether we like it or not.”
It was the latest in a string of controversial decisions that the Comelec Second Division had issued. It earlier annulled the win in the 2007 vote of Bulacán Gov. Joselito Mendoza and kicked out the polio-stricken Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca. The two belong to the opposition.
In reaching the decision, the Comelec division considered as valid the votes for “Nanay Baby” that were previously set aside, giving Pineda the gubernatorial seat three months before the May 10 general elections, where the two will again face off for the same post.
The ruling penned by Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer said that Pineda got 190,729 votes, while Panlilio received 188,718 votes, which erased his 1,147 lead in the 2007 count.
But wait! There’s more!
The appreciation of the votes was not unanimous among the three members of the division, however.
Commissioner Lucenito Tagle had a different computation of the contested votes.
Tagle, in his separate concurring opinion, said Pineda was still the victor in the 2007 race at 190,819 votes, but her lead was much smaller.
He placed Panlilio’s total votes at 190,463, putting the difference between the rivals a mere 356 votes.
Tsk tsk tsk. Qué desastre.
A known jueteng personality –and an Arroyo ally at that– finally made it to the fading cut. With the May 10 election looming just around the corner (it’s just less than three months from now!), what does this tell us?
Sometimes, I seriously think that we’re better off going back to a monarchial form of government.
I don’t believe in the right of suffrage anymore. Because I don’t want to suffer.