The rains did not stop Binalbagan town residents from turning out to give their mayor Alejandro Mirasol, an overwhelming lead that clinched his victory as congressman of the fifth district of Negros Occidental Saturday.
Provincial Election Supervisor Jessie Suarez proclaimed Mirasol congressman of the 5th district at the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City at 6:45 a.m. yesterday in the presence of his family, Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and top COMELEC officials led by its chairman, Sixto Brillantes.
Mirasol was supported by the United Negros Alliance and the Nationalist People's Alliance both led by Marañon and the Liberal Party in Negros headed by Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3rd District).
Mirasol, who was endorsed by President Benigno Aquino, takes over the district left vacant by the death of Rep. Ignacio Arroyo Jr. in London in January.
He won with 81,982 votes or a lead of 13,103 votes over his nephew, Board Member Emilio Yulo III of the Nacionalista Party who garnered 68,879 votes.
Mirasol’s hometown delivered his largest lead at 15,155, which was more than enough to overcome losses in Himamaylan City and Hinigaran town.
He garnered 18,821 votes while Yulo had 3,666 in Binalbagan, and won in Isabela with 10,853 votes to Yulo’s 10,553, in La Castellana with 14,070 votes to Yulo’s 10,104, and in Moises Padilla with 7,863 to Yulo’s 7,205, COMELEC figures show.
Mirasol lost by 6,791 votes in Himamaylan garnering 15,125 votes to the 21,916 votes of Yulo, who had the support of the city’s Mayor Agustin Ernesto Bascon. In Hinigaran Mirasol lost by 185 votes garnering 15,250 votes to Yulo’s 15,435.
Mirasol, who thanked the people of Binalbagan and the rest of the fifth district for their support, said the large margin in his hometown is proof that the work he has done there was appreciated by its residents.
He promised to deliver projects to all the areas of the fifth district, even in areas where he lost.
Mirasol also took his oath before Marañon yesterday afternoon and will again take oath before House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte at the House of Representatives this afternoon so he can buckle down to work as congressman for one year, with the next elections set in May 2013.
COMELEC chairman Sixto Brillantes, who was in Negros to oversee the special election, called it very peaceful, quiet and orderly. “The weather did not cooperate but we still had a very good voters turnout at 73.41 percent,” he said.
“We want to use this election here in Negros Occidental as a sample of how to conduct a peaceful and orderly election…everything was a success,” he said.
Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, Liberal Party president, yesterday told Mirasol to inform him if the he needs any help from the administration for the fifth district
Marañon and Benitez also congratulated Mirasol on his victory.
“We should thank God that the election was peaceful and that the Comelec was very fast in proclaiming a winner,” Marañon said.
"We would like to congratulate the COMELEC for a splendid job and the people for keeping the special election peaceful," he also said.
Marañon said he is calling on Mirasol “bring home the bacon for the fifth district… bring home more projects."
Mirasol has many things to do for his district, the governor added.
UNA continues to lead as a party because the people believe in the performance of its officials, who put the people first, not themselves, the governor said.
“The people of the Fifth District have spoken I hope they set aside politics and unite under his leadership,” Benitez said.
Suarez said the special election on Saturday was the only one held where the administration candidate won, in three others elsewhere in the country the candidate of the administration did not win.
Suarez thanked the police and the army for a job well done in securing the whole fifth distinct during the special election.
Mirasol voted at 9:20 a.m. at Precinct 176 A at the Binalbagan South Elementary School in Binalbagan town, while Yulo voted at Precinct 78 of the Rumirang Elementary School in Isabela at 10:30 a.m. Saturday.
Grace Ibuna, the long time partner of Arroyo, also returned to Negros to vote for Mirasol.
Ibuna voted at 11:45 a.m. Saturday at Precinct 33A at the Don Felix Robles Elementary School in La Castellana town.
“I’m voting for and behalf of Congressman Iggy Arroyo and myself. I’m here to support Bebot Mirasol. I have been praying and doing my part to help him,” she said.
She called Mirasol a man of integrity who will love and serve the fifth district the way Rep. Arroyo did.
“I just want the best for the fifth district and I think Bebot is the man,” she said.
Asked if she will run for public office, she said “Surprise - I will have a presscon when the right time comes.”
“I have an advocacy to continue and I really want to help the fifth district in my own way. I want to finish the unfinished business of Rep. Arroyo,” Ibuna said.
Vice MayorEmmanuelAranda becomes mayor of Binalbagan, with Mirasol’s assumption of his post as congressman.*CPG