ALLIES. (From left to right) Bacolod City Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran with their supporters during a march before the grand rally of their party held on May 11. The three are leading their respective opponents with wide vote margins and are just awaiting proclamation. (Contributed Photo)
BACOLOD CITY -- The three reelectionists personally endorsed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte are leading the race for the top posts in this city, based on the initial canvass reports released by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Tuesday night.
Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya, Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, who are running under the Grupo Progreso alliance, are ahead of their respective rivals by wide margins as shown in the transmitted results from 349 out of the total 353 clustered precincts.
The three, who are just awaiting proclamation, received the support of the President in separate endorsements he recorded on video released during the campaign period.
So far, Gasataya garnered 133,822 votes followed by Monico Puentevella with 83,638 votes, and Kevin Moises with 3,697 votes.
Leonardia got 143,115 votes against Jocelle Batapa-Sigue’s 80,224 and Ray Carmona’s 1,740 while Familiaran amassed 124,707 votes against Jude Thaddeus Sayson’s 90,803 votes.
The City Board of Election Canvassers (CBOC), chaired by election officer Anjanette Lamban, is scheduled to resume its session at 3 p.m. on Wednesday to continue the canvassing of the remaining election returns.
Lamban said they are still awaiting the replacement of two of the four corrupted secure digital (SD) cards.
With about 98 percent of the election results already transmitted, the legal team of Grupo Progreso filed a motion before the CBOC to lower the canvassing threshold to allow the proclamation of Gasataya, Leonardia, and Familiaran before the defective SD cards are replaced.
“We hope it will be approved soon. The vote margins are already so overwhelming,” lawyer Marvin Tañada said.
Meanwhile, Leonardia thanked the people of Bacolod who voted for him and his partymates.
“The mandate you have given me and Grupo Progreso is overwhelming, unprecedented, historical,” the mayor said in a press statement on Tuesday night.
“You gave us margins over our opponents that no one before us has ever gotten. Although one of us is still fighting it out for the last council slot, we, in the Grupo Progreso family, do not miss your message, so loudly and clearly declared in the vote,” he added.
Leonardia further said that with the mandate given to their party like no other in the history of politics in Bacolod, they can only promise to “work as no one has ever worked to build a better, stronger Bacolod”. (PNA)