The Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) proclaimed Thursday morning Arthur Yap as governor-elect of Bohol province in a hairline victory against former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr.
Lawyer Eddie Aba, chair of Bohol’s PBOC, said Yap won with a narrow lead of 2,161 after garnering 326,895 votes against Evasco’s 324,734 in the final official count.
The proclamation of the duly-elected governor was stalled by delays in canvassing of votes in the towns of Sagbayan, Panglao, and Tubigon because of damaged Secure Digital (SD) cards.
Aba said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bohol had to ship the SD cards to Cebu to be repaired.
“I thank the Boholanos for giving me the opportunity to serve them,” Yap was quoted in a radio interview as saying after the canvassing of election results.
Earlier, Evasco vowed to file a petition to declare a failure of election in Bohol allegedly due to “massive vote buying” and fraud in the polls, which Yap quickly dismissed.
“All that changed later in the day, however, as I was starting to be appraised of the magnitude of election irregularities particularly vote-buying. I realized that I will not be the only victim,” said Evasco in the official statement released a day after the mid-term polls.
He said that he “cannot abandon the thousands who packed our rallies, those who declined the proverbial thirty pieces of silver because they placed their hope in a band of men & women they believed would lead Bohol into a new dawn”.
“It is for all of them that I finally arrived at this difficult decision to instruct the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Bohol and Hugpong ng Pagbabago-Bohol to make preparations for the filing of a petition to declare a failure of elections,” Evasco’s statement added.
Yap, for his part, said “there is no failure of elections”.
His running mate, Rene Relampagos, was declared the vice governor-elect of Bohol due to a wide margin over his rival candidate, Tommy Abapo.
Relampagos got 317,318 votes as against Abapo’s 263,910.
Yap was one of the youngest officials to be appointed to the Cabinet by then President Gloria Arroyo in August 2004. He ran for Bohol governor under the Partido Demokratiko-Pilipino (PDP-Laban) while Evasco was under the National People’s Coalition (NPC). (PNA)
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