No. 241 /  May 1-15, 2010
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The Novo Ecijanos have spoken:
It's Umali, Padiernos

Gov. Aurelio M. Umali has been re-elected with a huge lead over his rival, Vice Gov. Edward Thomas F. Joson.

The unofficial tally by GMA News as of May 15 showed Umali with 476,921 votes against Joson's 292,518 votes.

In the vice gubernatorial race, Umali's team mate Gay G. Padiernos got 422,789 votes, beating his rival Rommel C. Padilla who obtained 315,333 votes.

Umali won in all four congressional districts. 

Click here for the unofficial results of the local elections in all Nueva Ecija towns and cities, including those for the provincial and congressional posts. ###

Ecija 'unusually calm' during 2010 election period

The Nueva Ecija police said that the peace and order situation in the province remained unusually calm compared to the two previous elections.

Sr. Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, said that there was no violence associated with politics that was reported to the police.

“We are happy about it but we are not taking it easy,” he said. “So far, so good and we hope this condition in Nueva Ecija will stay until the election period is over.”

He said that 1,500 policemen and 950 Army soldiers were assigned to the province to ensure orderly and peaceful elections, with volunteers helping man security assistance desks set up by the police and the military in the 740 polling centers in the province.

The 4th Congressional District had the fewest number of police and Army soldiers deployed despite the intense rivalry between re-electionist Rep. Rodolfo Antonino and former Jaen Mayor Antonio Prospero Esquivel.

Police authorities also closely monitored the mayoral race in Gapan City, with Vice Mayor Christian Tinio being pitted against Juanita Natividad, wife of three term Mayor Ernesto Natividad. 

The PNP listed two cities and eight municipalities as election watch list areas. These are the cities of Gapan and Muñoz and the towns of Aliaga, Bongabon, Jaen, Licab, Lupao, Quezon and San Antonio. ###

Canvassing delayed: 100 Ecija PCOS machines bog down

Some 100 out of 103 precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines in Nueva Ecija failed to transmit election results from 26 towns and five cities in the province on election day.

The problem continued to be experienced until four days later.

Provincial Election Supervisor Fernando Cot-on said that the compact flash cards (CFC) used in the PCOS machines turned out to be defective, delaying the operation of the Provincial Board of Canvassers. He had to go to the Smartmatic warehouse in Cabuyao, Laguna last May 12 to get replacement cards so the provincial canvass could continue.

The provincial board of canvassers had received only the completed results from Nampicuan and Palayan City. The board suspended the canvass in 26 towns and four cities because of the defective CFC cards

It was learned that of the 103 PCOS machines used in the province, 26 failed to transmit, 17 failed to count, 17 were defective and 15 malfunctioned.

By the afternoon of  May 13, eight towns and two cities had transmitted their election returns. ###

After the elections...
PCOS entrusted to wrong hands?

There were reports that after the elections, some PCOS machines were passed on from the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) to unauthorized parties.

It was learned that some PCOS machines wound up in the custody of barangay chairs supposedly for safekeeping.

Guimba Vice Mayor Ler de Guzman said that out of 15 PCOS machines surrendered by BEIs to the municipal hall, 10 went missing by noon of May 13.

There were other unconfirmed reports from poll watchers about compact flash cards being destroyed. ###

Diaz to challenge poll results

Following the apparent failure of the automated system of transmitting election results, former Presidential Assistant for North Luzon Rene Diaz, who is running for representative in the First Congressional District, is set to challenge the integrity of the results of the canvassing of votes.

Diaz wants the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic to investigate the "suspicious" failure of PCOS machines to transmit the results.

“Ultimately, if there is doubt in the what transpired in between the supposed failure of the PCOS machines to transmit (results) and the canvassing that's going on right now in the provincial level, then it's not just the results of the governors or congressmen in Nueva Ecija that may be put into question, but results of all other national positions as well, such as for vice president, senators or party lists,” Diaz explained.

Nueva Ecija has over one million voters, over 324,000 of them in Diaz's district.

The massive failure of the PCOS machines to transmit results created tension in the provincial canvassing board and delayed the proclamation of winners. ###

Police, PPCRV swamped with reports of rampant vote buying 

Telephone calls about incidents of vote buying clogged the lines of the Nueva Ecija provincial police office on the eve of election day.

Supt. Ricardo Marquez, provincial police director, said the callers reported cases of "gapangan" (literally: crawling) in some parts of Cabanatuan City, where local candidates ensure their victory by contacting voters at night and paying them.

However, Marquez said that when police officers were deployed to the areas where vote buying was reported to be going on, they found no one.

Earlier, tricycle drivers, senior citizens and market vendors in Cabanatuan City allegedly received P200 each for voting for a certain mayoral candidate.

In Gapan City, there were reports of voters being marked with indelible ink on their forefingers in exchange for cash during the early morning hours before the opening of precincts on election day -- a ploy to prevent them from voting for a certain  mayoral candidate.

Meanwhile, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) the only accredited citizens' arm of the Commission on Elections, will pursue election related cases after receiving reports of massive vote buying and other offenses in Luzon.

The group said that it received reports of vote buying in Nueva Ecija, Angeles City in Pampanga, Mariveles in Bataan and Binangonan in Rizal.

Ana de Villa-Singson, PPCRV media communications director, said the group is verifying and collating information on the election offenses before reporting these to the COMELEC. ###

COMELEC control for Ecija, five other places

A week before election day, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) placed Nueva Ecija and six other areas in the country under its control.

COMELEC Resolution 8887 declared Nueva Ecija (Region 3); Abra (CAR); Dasol town in Pangasinan (Region 1); Buguey town in Cagayan (Region 2); Pantao, Ragat and Matungao towns in Lanao del Norte (Region 10); Davao City in Davao del Sur (Region 11) and the entire Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under the control of the commission.

Being under COMELEC control means that a special task force will be assigned to oversee the area during the election period. The task force will consist of a COMELEC commissioner, the highest ranking officials of the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines assigned in the area.

The commissioner will be the acting governor and take the lead in running the provincial government and exercising control over all the law enforcement agencies in the area.

The requests for COMELEC control were made by Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali; Tineg, Abra Mayor Edwin Crisologo; Bangued, Abra Mayor Dominic Valera and Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur Vice Mayor Wilson Nandang.

Commissioner Lucenito Tagle had said that the local officials requested COMELEC control because of the history of election related violence in their respective places. ###

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