May 18, 2007 · Posted in: 2007 Elections

Naga city hall under siege?

THREE truckloads of anti-riot policemen carrying long firearms have reportedly massed up in front of the Naga City Hall late tonight where some 500 Nagueños are staging a vigil awaiting the proclamation of the winners of the May 14 elections.

The police contingent from the Regional Mobile Group, which grew from just a single platoon early in the day, is said to be under the command of Col. Romeo Mapalo, Philippine National Police provincial director.

With all the votes already canvassed, incumbent Naga City Mayor Jesse Robredo has amassed around 37,000 votes to post a commanding 26,000-vote lead over rival Jojo Villafuerte, barangay captain of Peñafrancia and nephew of Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte. The outcome is almost a repeat of the result of the 2004 elections when Robredo got 36,000 votes, or 70 percent of total votes cast for mayor.

Robredo’s Liberal Party ticket is also set to extend its winning run, scoring another sweep of local seats, with its 10th-placed candidate for councilor enjoying a lead of more than 10,000 votes against the highest-placed bet from the rival party, Kampi.

Despite this though, the city board of canvassers (BOC) has yet to proclaim Robredo as the winning mayor. Why the delay, Robredo says he can only suspect to be the handiwork of political rivals. A Villafuerte ally, he says, sits in the BOC.

Though he wonders what the police’s “intimidating presence” in city hall is for, Robredo says they are already used to these tactics, adding that they will just keep vigil until they are proclaimed.

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