Central Luzon Desk
Philippine Daily InquirerKristine L. Alave Tonette Orejas
MANILA, Philippines—Maybe he used Grade 1 arithmetic.
Election Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer burst into laughter when told that some quarters believed that Mark Lapid, one of the losing candidates in the three-way Pampanga gubernatorial race in 2007 was the rightful victor in the election held three years ago.
“Maybe we can surmise that he was using Grade 1 arithmetic methods. He adds the votes of [Pampanga Gov. Eddie] Panlilio and [Lilia] Pineda and the total, you subtract from the number of those who voted. Maybe he thinks the balance was for him,” Ferrer said in an interview Friday.
“I took it as entertainment from a politician,” he added.
Ferrer, who was in charge of the recount, said they did not even count Lapid’s votes, as he had not filed an electoral complaint.
The recount conducted by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Second Division ruled that Panlilio got fewer votes than Pineda.
No legal right to intervene
The Second Division said the recount, which started in August 2009, showed that Pineda received 190,729 or 2,011 more votes than Panlilio, who got 188,718 votes.
In the original 2007 count, Panlilio received 219,706 or 1,147 more votes than Pineda’s 218,559 votes. Lapid placed third with 210, 875 votes.
Pineda filed an electoral complaint immediately after the May 2007 elections but Lapid did not.
Ferrer said Lapid had no legal right to intervene in the electoral feud between Pineda and Panlilio.
‘I feel vindicated’
Meanwhile, Lapid, the actor-turned-politician, now head of the Philippine Tourism Authority, said on Friday he would not snatch the gubernatorial post from Panlilio or Pineda.
“I feel vindicated,” Lapid told the Central Luzon-based radio station dwRW in reaction to an Inquirer story on his being regarded as the winner in the 2007 election.
“I’m happy to know I’ve won,” said Lapid, who was in Cagayan de Oro City during the interview.
However, Lapid could not be declared the winner in the 2007 race as he did not file a petition for recount, according to Comelec provincial supervisor Temie Lambino.
It was Pineda who asked for a recount as she, in her petition, accused Panlilio, a Catholic priest, of allegedly buying and padding votes and using fake ballots and coercion.
Lapid would not be able to file a motion for intervention because the rules did not allow this, Lambino said.
Lapid said he was not interested in claiming the seat.
“I prefer to concentrate on the PTA,” he said. President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had appointed him general manager of the agency a year after he lost in his reelection bid.
“He does not want to rock the boat. He and his father (actor-turned-senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid) are not active in Pampanga politics in the meantime,” said a source in the Lapid camp who requested anonymity.
Cleansing the votes
On the other hand, Panlilio, a priest on leave, asserted he was the winner in the 2007 polls.
“This is the second time I am the victim of cheating,” he said, referring to an electoral fraud allegedly committed by his rivals. He said more than 20,000 votes were supposedly taken from him during the counting at the precinct level.
Pampanga columnist Caesar Lacson said the recount in a way “cleansed some impurities” in the votes cast for Panlilio and Pineda.
Because the votes for Lapid were not appreciated and revised during the recount, they remained “raw,” he said.
Less votes in recount?
Lacson said Lapid, who placed third in the 2007 contest, would have lost more votes if he had been subjected to a recount.
This was because the ballot boxes in Mabalacat and Arayat, towns where Lapid had the most number of votes, were destroyed by fire and floods after the provincial canvassing of votes.
“We have a pretty interesting situation,” Lacson observed.
Pineda declined to react to Lapid’s virtual win. “My lawyers are on the case. I expect due process,” she said.
She has shouldered the cost of the recount, which initially reached P4.1 million, according to a copy of a check paid to the Comelec.
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|Escudero, Francis Joseph (GO)||1,530,337|
|Legarda, Loren (GO)||1,445,355|
|Aquino, Benigno Simeon III (GO)||1,427,372|
|Lacson, Panfilo (GO)||1,315,961|
|Pangilinan, Francis (IND)||1,270,851|
|Villar, Manuel Jr (GO)||1,267,929|
|Cayetano, Alan Peter (GO)||1,097,065|
|Arroyo, Joker (TU)||1,046,152|
|Angara, Edgardo (TU)||999,396|
|Trillanes, Antonio IV (GO)||980,643|
|Recto, Ralph (TU)||971,250|
|Zubiri, Juan Miguel (TU)||957,930|
|Legarda, Loren (GO)||14,161,803|
|Escudero, Francis Joseph (GO)||13,919,444|
|Lacson, Panfilo (GO)||12,027,067|
|Villar, Manuel Jr (GO)||11,674,064|
|Aquino, Benigno Simeon III (GO)||11,107,999|
|Pangilinan, Francis (IND)||11,092,665|
|Angara, Edgardo (TU)||9,689,358|
|Cayetano, Alan Peter (GO)||9,030,748|
|Honasan, Gregorio (IND)||9,013,231|
|Arroyo, Joker (TU)||8,977,075|
|Trillanes, Antonio IV (GO)||8,710,648|
|Pimentel, Aquilino III (GO)||8,449,279|
|Legarda, Loren (GO)||18,352,290|
|Escudero, Francis Joseph (GO)||18,095,757|
|Lacson, Panfilo (GO)||15,442,480|
|Villar, Manuel Jr (GO)||15,192,880|
|Pangilinan, Francis (IND)||14,415,704|
|Aquino, Benigno Simeon III (GO)||14,234,979|
|Angara, Edgardo (TU)||12,404,138|
|Cayetano, Allan Peter (GO)||11,736,410|
|Arroyo, Joker (TU)||11,550,655|
|Honasan, Gregorio (IND)||11,487,784|
|Trillanes, Antonio IV (GO)||11,138,067|
|Pimentel, Aquilino III (GO)||10,865,397|