LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – There’s no ceasefire on election day, as Pangasinan gubernatorial candidates Gov Amado Espino Jr of the Nationalist People’s Coalition (NPC) and Alaminos City Mayor Hernani Braganza of the administration’s Liberal Party traded barbs.
Both candidates didn’t pass the opportunity to attack each other when reporters interviewed them after they cast their votes Monday, May 13.
Braganza accused an Espino ally, re-electionist Rep Jesus Celeste, of vote-buying in Alaminos City.
“Nakita ho namin isang van na itim may nakalagay na ‘media.’ We found out that it is the car of Cong Boying Celeste. May taong 3 doon na ayaw magsabi ng pangalan. Nagulat ako yung isa anak ko pa pala sa kasal. Sabi ko:
‘Bakit kayo nandito?’
‘Inutusan po kami ni Cong Boy.’
‘Ano gagawin ninyo dito?
‘Ng alin? At bakit may media ang sasakyan niyo?’“
The men inside the van supposedly did not respond.
“We brought them to the police station which was the proper thing to do,” said Braganza.
Braganza said the other reason he went to the police station was to check the arrests in relation to some good that were confiscated because it supopsedly had “Celeste” tags. He said these good were supposed to used to buy votes.
Braganza voted at the Alaminos Central School before noon.
Anonymous text messages circulated Monday morning that Braganza himself harrassed Celeste supporters who supposedly caught his men buying votes.
Espino, on the other hand, lamented the supposed ‘militarization’ of Pangasinan because of the increased presence of security forces. Pangasinan was declared an election hotspot.
“Actually I must have to say mabuti at election na. Matagal na akong taga-Pangasinan at naging (regional police) commander ako dito. Ngayon langa ko nakikita ng election dito na ang dami naka-fatigue na uniporme, madaming assault weapons. Parang naging warzone ang Pangasinan,” he told reporters before he cast his vote in Bugallon town, near Pangasinan’s capital Lingayen City.
Espino dismissed the allegation of vote-buying while Braganza defended the increased presence of security forces in Pangasinan.
“These are government soldiers and police officers to ensure peace,” he told reporters. Braganza cited deaths in Pangasinan during the election period.
The Espino camp also said they are up against Malacañang machinery because of PNoy’s support for Braganza.
Barring machine problems, both camps expect the results before midnight on Monday or early morning on Tuesday, May 14. – Rappler.com
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