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Independent candidates grab 6 seats in Tacloban council

WINNERS. Photo shows Vice-mayor Arvin Antoni, councilors Sambo Yaokasin, Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez and Edwin Chua as they await their proclamations last May 12.

TACLOBAN CITY –  This city’s 10th councilor scored a big upset over veteran politician Atty. Evangeline Esperas, former provincial board member, after he beat her by just a hairline of 10 votes.
The 10th councilor is Neil Glova, a hard-hitting radio commentator of DYVL, who was proclaimed winner by the City Board of Canvassers last May 12.  Neil, an independent candidate, got 21,984 votes over Esperas’ 21,974 votes.
The delay in the counting of votes for Glova and Esperas was due to the discrepancy in the ballots for the precincts in Barangays 88 in San Jose and 109 at V&G subdivision.
Other winning candidates of the city had been proclaimed a day earlier already. However, Mayor Alfred Romualdez who won by landslide over lone rival Bob Abellanosa, was absent during the proclamation.
Sources said he was hurting over the defeat of his father, former Mayor Bejo Romualdez who ran for vice mayor, by incumbent Arvin Antoni. Bejo is the youngest brother of Imelda Marcos, who won the congressional seat in Ilocos Norte by a massive landslide.
Mayor Alfred got 53,304 votes over Abellanosa’s 19,504 votes. In an interview by the media with his wife Cristina Gonzalez-Romualdez who was proclaimed reelectionist councilor, she honestly said, “our mayor is not around because he really feels bad on the winning of Antoni again”.
Vice Mayor Antoni, who ran under LP, will serve his second term and got 38,732 over Bejo’s 35,321 votes.
Cristina, the lone woman in the council, was only second to reelected Councilor Jerry “Sambo” Yaokasin. Insiders at the city hall also alluded that like her husband, “Madame Cristina is not in a good mood this morning, because she only placed second to Sambo”.
Sambo, who ran as independent, was the topnotcher in the council with 46,451 votes over Cristina’s (NP) 43,204 votes.  Edwin Chua (NP) 37,487; Willy Domingo (Independent) 36,676; Edward Frederick Chua (NP); Jeric Granados (NP) 32,588; Jerry Uy (LP) 29,920; Robert Andrade (LP) 27,808; and Bianco Mate (NP) 23,269.
They were proclaimed the 3-member City Board of Canvassers led by Rosemarie Ann Polistico.
The victory of the independent candidates was the buzz anywhere in the city, with only four councilors of Mayor Alfred’s ticket making it to the magic 10.  The no-frill campaign of the independent candidates made it more amazing.
Chris Santos, an NGO worker said, “I am happy for the people of Tacloban. They have grown up.  They want change for sure by voting these candidates”. Although money or the “badil” still played role in this election, the people’s choices are varied, she noted.
Like the first poll automation, the City Council for the first time also had many firsts.
It was the first time the electorate had voted for younger members like Jeric who is in his early 30’s and a nurse by profession but a businessman by avocation.  Frederick Chua, in his late 20’s is a 3-term Tacloban SK President. He is the nephew of Edwin Chua.  Bianco Mate, a re-electionist in just in his 40’s just like the well loved lawyer Jerry Uy.
Joey, a MassCom training officer said, “this is my first time to vote and I made sure I choose younger people to run the council with credentials”.
“Unlike before when what the Romualdezes want to be voted, they can put it in the people’s mouth. The people of Tacloban has really spoken”, he further noted.
Sambo, who was ecstatic after landing in the top slot, said “it feels good and I am happy that my performance during my term … the people have not forgotten.  Performance and credentials still matter in this election”.  By Vicky Arnaiz with a report from Alvin Dumandan

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