First of all, I would like to apologize to all our readers for not updating the site during the election period. I did gave a blow-by-blow update on our FaceBook Page during election day.
After the elections I had to tend some important personal matters preventing me from giving you my perspective of the Elections.
Anyway, as they always say, better late than never. So here goes.
The biggest news (I’m sure most of you already know) of course is that, after 3 consecutive winning terms, the Bersamins suffered their first crushing defeat. The big three, Takit, Ruby and Chari all lost their bid against their arch rivals – the Valera-Bernos (Joy, Dominic, JB) Their only consolation is Anne Bersamin and Jorobots Bersamin some how survived the onslaught.
The contest between these two warring clans was nasty as both camps resorted to mudslinging and reported vote-buying.
Other positions such as Vice Governor, Sangunian Panlalawigan, Sangunian Bayan also dominated by candidates identifies to the Valera-Bernos camp.
In Pidigan, another Valera won. Domino Valera beat his estrange wife Janssen Buemio by less than 200 votes. Reports coming to us was that, both camps tried to outbid each other. People of Pidigan went “laughing all the way to the bank”.
Lagayan remain to be notorious. The town grab national headlines as one was killed during the elections and a massive manhunt my the SAF resulted to an arrest. Still Jedricks Luna prevailed over Jodel Crisologo.
In Tayum, the question about the Son-Father Tandem of the Eduartes was answered. Tayumens overwhelmingly voted them in.
San Juan was also a hotspot. Rivalry between Bernos and Bautsita spilled into this municipality. In the end, it was a no contest as Bautista’s brother prevailed over Bernos’ brother-in-law.
General Antonio Viernes who ran for Governor, tried his best to run his campaign based on idealism to no avail. In his concession speach, he opined that Abra is not ready for transformation at this time. His last words is “He Shall Return”.
The Congressional Contest
This is my first time in many years that I was at the belly of the beast. Not only was I a witness, I was part of the campaign. My brother Dr. Joselito Bringas ran for Congress.
He ran against two sitting Mayors JB Bernos and Marco Bautista and former Congresswoman Cecy Luna.
Doc Lito ran a very honest and clean campaign. His campaign team (composed mostly idealistic youth, his family and close friends) played by the rules. But this was no match to Bernos and Bautista. He was outspent, outgunned and outnumbered.
The People of Abra should thank Doc Lito. Why? Because his candidacy triggered a spending spree from his opponents and the Abrenian benefited from it.
Former Congresswoman, Cecy Luna tried to revive her lost luster. Evidently, she doesn’t have the political machinery she used to have. She did played by the rules, which is commendable. During her sorties, she insisted that she was cheated during the 2010 elections – referring to the results in Danglas and La Paz where she didn’t get any vote.
From the start Bernos acted as the instigator. He made sure his other opponents were not welcome in his home turf of La Paz and Danglas. He had reportedly ordered the removing of his opponents tarps around Abra.
The irony of it all, everyone allowed him to roam around Bangued without anyone bothering him.
Bautista, however, tried to match the dip pocket and political machinery of Bernos to no avail.
New and some old ways of cheating
With the shift to electronic voting and counting, it was more difficult to alter the outcome of the elections. Sure there were reported glitches of the VCM during testing. Some VCM actually failed but in general it was more improved that the old ways of manual counting.
But this didn’t prevent some politicians from scheming to win elections:
1. Most politicians resorted to vote-buying and openly at that. Voters either reluctantly or willingly received money. Few days before the elections up to the early hours of May 9, we’ve witness how last minute vote-buying (“bukwal” in Ilokano term) unfolded and unabated.
2. Intimidation of voters. During the election day, voters who are known supporters of other candidates were prevented from leaving their homes. Thus unable to cast their votes.
3. Paying-off BEI to shade unused ballots (for those who didn’t vote) in favor of their bets.
These acts of course are difficult to prosecute because witnesses refuse to testify for fear of their own safety.
Already there are reports that Governor- Elect Joy Bernos is starting to throw her weight at the Provincial Capitol even though her official start is after June 30, 2016. Gov. Takit in response, sought the help of the military to guard the capitol.
After June 30th, there will be an exodus of Bersamin Supporters from every agency under the Provincial Government. In turn, Valera-Bernos’ supporters will move in. “Sinubblat ti isem” so they say.
Clearly the Valeras and the Bernoses are now the new political power in Abra, at least for the next 3 years.
As for the Bersamins? Maybe they are not done yet…it’s politics, anything can happen.
Lastly, was this a peaceful elections? Yes, According to many observers. Personally I agree to some extent, comparing it to the past elections.
But was it honest and clean? Definitely not…
Nevertheless, let’s move on and hope that all elected officials will be true to their promises to serve the people and our Province.
note: will be soon publish all the winners once the Official results from the COMELEC is available.