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The Mayor of Cagayan de Oro?
By Elson T. Elizaga

Vicente Y. Emano was the mayor of Cagayan de Oro, Philippines as declared by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) after the May 10, 2010 national elections.

Emano appeared to have won by a margin of only 2, 130 votes against Rolando Uy.

Emano’s seeming victory, however, was preceded by an unusual activity. At dawn on May 11, a dump truck marked “COMELEC Do not delay” unloaded election materials to the city landfill, first at 3:10 am, then at 3:45 am.

In the morning, scavengers in the landfill found sacks of ballots, flash cards, locks and other election materials. They sold some of these to junk shops. Uy’s group retrieved two sacks in barangay Puntod.

Interviewed on radio, mayor Constantino Jaraula, a lawyer, described the mysterious finding as "a setup" by the opposition to sow doubt on the election process. Emano said the same. Emano was vice-mayor then.

But in June 2010, a city hall employee, Federico Gempesaw, claimed he delivered one metric ton of sample ballots to the landfill. Emano then admitted that he told Gempesaw to do so, but emphasized that only sample ballots were discarded.

Following is my take on the issue.

When news about the dumping of election materials came out, Emano should have asked the police to investigate the incident. That would be normal, human behavior. He was vice-mayor at that time. There was possibility that the materials would show votes for Emano.

Instead of investigating, however, Emano and Jaraula accused the opposition of dumping the materials.

If the opposition had dumped the materials, those materials must have been votes for Emano. If they were votes for the opposition, why would the opposition throw them away?

So, Emano and Jaraula should have more reason to have the materials examined. But they and other members of their political party did not. If they were certain that the opposition was responsible for the dumpling, they should have filed a case in a court of law. But they didn't. Why?

Related sites:

  • February 13, 2012: "THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has held former Cagayan de Oro elections officer Gina Zayas Sabio liable in connection with the mysterious dumping of election materials at the Carmen wasteyard in May 2010, ex-senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said yesterday. Pimentel filed a complaint against Sabio for violation of the Omnibus Election Code nearly two years ago on behalf of Eduardo Homeres Sr., a resident of Barangay Puntod." [More in Mindanao Goldstar Daily]
  • Rolando Uy cries cheating in elections
  • Machines don't cheat; people do: The report of the Chairman of Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms
1986 to 1997 Governor of Misamis Oriental
1998 Removed as governor of Misamis Oriental by the Comelec after a recount of votes. Comelec pronounced Emano guilty of charge that he cheated in the 1995 election. Replaced by his political rival Ruthie Guingona.
1998 to 2004 Mayor of Cagayan de Oro
2007 Vice-mayor. Showed up in the council session only once. Constantino Jaraula was mayor.
2010 Declared mayor of Cagayan de Oro by the Comelec. Complaint filed by rival Rolando Uy after discovery of election materials in the city dump and a private junk shop.
2013 Ran for mayor but lost to former Misamis Oriental governor Oscar Moreno.
2015 Has announced decision to run for mayor in the 2016 election.
August 10, 2010. Updated September 17, 2018 . Copyright © Elson T. Elizaga.