Uy retains governorship of Zamboanga del Norte

ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE, Philippines – Governor Roberto Uy, candidate of the ruling PDP-Laban, retained the governorship of Zamboanga del Norte in a close contest with Representative Seth Frederick Jalosjos of the administration-allied Hugpong ng Pagbabago (HNP). 

Uy was proclaimed governor by the Provincial Board of Canvassers at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan session hall in Dipolog City early on evening Saturday, May 18.

Uy garnered 219,412 votes, just 2,895 ahead of Jalosjos.

In the province’s 1st district, Romeo Jalosjos Jr (HNP-APP) won against Uy’s son Roberto Jr (PDP-Laban), while in the 2nd district Representative Glona Labadlabad (PDP-Laban) retained the position against challenger Flora Villarosa (HNP-APP), outgoing mayor of Siayan municipality.

In the 3rd district, challenger Norbedieri Edding (HNP-APP) lost to incumbent Representative Isagani Amatong.

Retired General Alexander Yano, former Armed Forces chief of staff, lost to former congressman Rosendo Labadlabad, husband of the 2nd district congresswoman, in Sindangan, the province’s largest town.

Reports of vote-buying

Zamboanga del Norte is still among the 10 poorest provinces in the country, but it is also among the provinces with the most expensive vote.

According to reports, vote-buying ranged from P1,000 up to 5,000 for every stock vote of both sides. After their machineries were paid, the bidding started among those who were actively selling their votes, locally called “paling-paling.”

There were also reports of dirty tricks like “hamletting” – one camp would bring voters of their opponent to hotels or even to a ship to prevent them from voting.

It was reportedly more more “brutal” in Sirawai.

A watcher for Romeo Cariño, challenger of reelectionist Mayor Gamar Janihim, claimed the mayor’s men mauled watchers of his opponents and prevented his opponent’s voters from entering polling places, but no incident report from the authorities could prove this as of posting. 

Of Sirawai’s 34 barangays, there were 9 barangays with a highly improbable turnout of 91-99%, while 24 barangays known to be the bailiwick of Cariño got very low turnout of voters at 80% down to zero percent.

“Meaning, there were no voters who cast their votes, including us watchers of Cariño,” the watcher said. – Rappler.com