By EDWIN IYO
GINGOOG City — Mayor Marie Guingona’s bet for the city’s influential Liga ng mga Barangay frustrated what was seen as 1st District Misamis Oriental Rep. Peter Unabia’s positioning attempt by unseating its president, Councilor Robert de Lara, in yesterday’s elections.
But de Lara, despite the 68-11 vote in favor of barangay chairman Metodio Baldivino of Anakan, this city, declared himself as the “winner” even as he asserted that his opponent was disqualified to run in the Liga elections held at the Penthouse of People’s Palace here.
Baldivino is identified as a political ally of Guingona while de Lara is closely associated with Unabia.
De Lara, ironically a relative of Guingona’s, argued that Baldivino did not pay his annual dues to the Liga in time for yesterday’s deadline which, he said, is required of candidates.
But Baldivino and other winners were immediately proclaimed by the board of canvassers that included a representative of the interior department in the city. They were then quickly sworn into office by Guingona.
Being Liga president automatically makes Baldivino a member of the city council, a position that de Lara would lose.
The unseating of de Lara came barely three days after Unabia registered as a voter of this city in preparation for his possible campaign against the likely reelection bid of Guingona in next year’s elections.
But de Lara argued that in the Liga’s election rules, all barangay chairpersons should have paid their dues on or before this month’s deadline.
De Lara said Baldivino failed to present evidence that he paid his annual dues, and that records show that only he and barangay chairperson Florisa Polo of Barangay 9 were the only ones of good standing.
Following his defeat, de Lara told barangay chairpersons that “as far as I’m concerned, I am the winner.”
Polo, ran for vice president of the Liga but lost to barangay chairman Joseph Gomez of Barangay Santiago, this city.
The other winners are Nelson Dumaloan of Barangay Lunotan (auditor), Maricel Garcia of Barangay 25, Nentia Golez of Barangay Mimbuntong, Florencia Bucag of Barangay Malibud, Criselda Lugod of Barangay 19, Helen Militante of Barangay 21, Panfilo Caresosa of Barangay Bal-ason, Israel Ladaga of Barangay 16, and Edwin Oclarit of Barangay Malinao (directors).