BAYBAY CITY – Mayor Carmen L. Cari of this city has appealed to their opposition camp to take pity on Baybay City residents and stop duping them about who the real winner of the elections were because it was only creating chaos and confusion.
“If they really love Baybay, as they claimed last elections, they should not be doing this, especially to their own supporters, making them believe in false hope”, she noted. “Let’s move on”, she said, “after all, there is another election on 2016”.
The mayor won her second term in the May 13, 2013 elections over challenger Ma. Lourdes Galenzoga by 15,197 votes. Despite the large margin, Galenzoga and her camp has not stopped announcing they are the real winners of the elections and has even filed a complaint for “failure of elections” at the Commission on Elections.
The Caris, including Rep. Jose Carlos L. Cari of the 5th district of Leyte, ran under the Liberal Party while Galenzoga ran under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). All LP bets in the district won, except for five councilors in two towns.
Mayor Cari also warned that if her opposition continues to employ underhand tactics to sow disunity in her city, she would bring them to the law.
On the morning of June 18, the mayor filed a complaint against businessman Vertillano “Al” Relevo for “inciting to sedition” at the prosecutor’s office. Relevo was her opponent’s vice mayoralty bet who lost to her son, Michael Cari, by 18,418 votes.
In her complaint, the mayor said that “despite respondent’s personal knowledge as to the true result of the elections”, Relevo posted a tarpaulin at his gas station in the city claiming that “the newly-elected mayor of Baybay City was Marilou Galenzoga”.
“The posting of the tarpaulin created chaos and confusion”, she said, “which endangered public safety and disturbed the peace and order of the community.”
The streamers were coupled with posts on the group’s Facebook account showing a photoshopped document claiming Galenzoga was proclaimed by the Comelec en banc as “winner in the local election of May 13, 2013” as “City Mayor of the City of Baybay”.
Mayor Cari pointed out that obviously, the “photoshopped” document is a proclamation of a party list winner. She said that if read closely, it states “to entitle its nominee … to serve for a term of three (3) years ending June 30, 2016, in accordance with Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution.”
“Section 7, Article VI of the Constitution refers to Congress”, she said, meaning it was a manipulated document for a winner who was proclaimed to sit in Congress.
The mayor’s observations were also beefed up by Susan Collamar, acting city election officer during the May 13 polls, who called the document as “spurious”. She said local candidates are proclaimed by the local board of canvassers, which in Baybay’s case was headed by her.
In a press conference held Thursday, the mayor’s lawyer Atty. Avito Cahig Jr. said that Galenzoga’s group were contradicting themselves.
First, he said, they post the manipulated document on their Facebook page “Kapihan sa Baybay”, followed by the posting of tarpaulins congratulating Galenzoga’s alleged “winning” at compounds and businesses of known supporters.
Cahig said that apparently realizing their blunder of manipulating a document that was a proclamation for Congress, they now have disowned it. “They are saying it comes from the Cari camp. How come the congratulatory tarpaulins are hung at the premises of their supporters?”, Cahig posed. In Relevo’s case, he pointed out, it was displayed at his Shell gas station.
Second, he said, no less than Galenzoga has announced they had filed a “failure of elections” with the Commission on Elections. Now, they post a document claiming she has won, without the benefit of “due process”. If the Comelec takes cognizance of the complaint, he explained, what will follow is a repeat election, aside from going through “due process” which entails a series of hearings. “Now, they suddenly produce a document claiming they won?”, he pointed out.
As the press conference was going on, Galenzoga and around 100 supporters milled around the city hall for a mini-rally and noise barrage. Mayor Carmen Cari said while they had reason to disperse the crowd since the city has a “no permit, no rally” ordinance, she has instructed policemen to exercise maximum tolerance.
She told media present that the rally showed what kind of people her detractors were, and confirms their capacity to sow chaos.
Rep. Jose Carlos Cari, on the other hand, said that aside from taking legal action against their detractors, they were calling the press conference to “inform everyone of the truth”. He wryly said that it is quite a shame for Baybay City to be in such chaos because of one candidate “who cannot move on”.