By Joey Natividad
TIGAON, Camarines Sur – The speaker prevails over the singer!
Former House Speaker Noli Fuentebella will be proclaimed anytime today, Thursday May 12, as the winning candidate for Congressman in Camarines Sur’s 4th District, winning a narrow margin of 740 votes over singer Imelda Papin.
COMELEC officially pegged the final count of 83, 969 votes for former Speaker Fuentebella, and singer Papin 83,229 votes, a slim edge advantage of the Speaker by 740 votes over the singer. These came from the latest updated results as of 10:45 am, today Thursday, May 12.
Votes from a barangay in Tinambac town still remain uncounted, but according to informed sources, the votes may not be significant enough to upset Fuentebella’s winning edge if all the barangay votes were given to Papin.
The fight between the two over canvassing results had been emotionally intense with both camps hurling each other election results data, claiming victory that had been confusing their supporters.
Threats of protest actions have been aired by Papin’s camp.
The drama started midnight of Monday May 9 when initial canvassing results reported the singer was winning by a thousand votes over Fuentebella, and as early dawn of Tuesday gave way to sunrise, reports of Papin’s winning edge had become narrower, as Fuentebella’s votes started to rise up after isolated precincts, experiencing failed transmission problems the night before, had begun sending out voting results.
On Tuesday noon, Papin was reported still winning over Fuentebella, the votes already reduced down to a hundred.
Meanwhile, Papin supporters repeatedly had been playing over the radio her famous song “Isang Linggong Pag-Ibig”.
A source said Papin had tried getting COMELEC to proclaim her as winner, but was denied when the poll body told her there were still several isolated barangay precincts in Tinambac town whose votes must be counted.
According to reports, legal counsels of Fuentebella and Papin, including watchers, went to the problematic precincts and conducted manual counting of ballots, while a replacement VCM was rushed to the precinct sites.
On Wednesday afternoon, final canvassing had revealed Fuentebella winning over Papin by a narrow advantage of 740 votes, amid threats from Papin supporters of waging protest actions, a repetition of election 2013 violent protests waged by supporters of actor Aga Muhlach in Tigaon municipal hall compound.
Rewinding back, Muhlach ran for a House seat against the speaker’s son, Wimpy Fuentebella, a close fight that gave the young Fuentebella a winning advantage of 2,000+ votes, triggering a few days of protest action while canvassing was going on in Tigaon municipal hall but, violence and stone-throwing incidents broke out, causing damage to public property.
Raps were filed against the protesters, but dismissed a year after by the Department of Justice over motions filed by counsels of the accused protesters.
“Congress is the place for orators and lawmakers, not for singers and entertainers,” a Fuentebella supporter said in dry humor. [BicolToday.com]