Samsam urges Bucao to accept defeat

TALISAY City Mayor Gerald Anthony “Samsam” Gullas Jr. has urged his erstwhile ally Vice Mayor Alan Bucao to accept defeat as the latter’s supporters continue their prayer rallies in front of the City Hall.“I respect their right to protest and to voice out their stand. That is the reason why I let them hold rallies in front of the Talisay City Hall as long as they wanted, even without the necessary permit, and even until the end of my term as the mayor of the city,” he said in a video message posted on his Facebook page on Friday afternoon, May 13, 2022.“However, I hope they would also respect the majority of Talisaynons who voted for me as their mayor,” Gullas added.Bucao failed to beat reelectionist Mayor Gullas, getting only 31,277 votes to Gullas’ 93,701 votes in the May 9 elections. The entire slate of Gullas’ Team Alayon also won in the elections, taking the vice mayor’s seat with Richard “Choy” Aznar’s win and all the city council’s seats as well. They were proclaimed on Tuesday, May 10.Gullas made the video after Bucao alleged that he and his group, Barug Lumad Talisaynon, were cheated during the elections.The outgoing vice mayor has also claimed there were irregularities in the conduct of elections in Talisay City, as the Commission on Elections (Comelec) could not explain why the results were in as early as 8 p.m. last May 9 while other local government units (LGUs) finished tallying around 10 p.m.Gullas said his grandfather Eduardo Gullas conceded after losing the mayoral race to businessman Johnny de los Reyes in 2013 by just 700 votes, and he asked political opponents to accept the “voice of the people.”“I won with a 60,000 lead against my rival Alan Bucao. That means the people of Talisay have spoken, and they have spoken very loudly,” he said.Gullas also urged Bucao to file a formal protest before the Comelec.Even as Bucao’s supporters continue to protest his victory, Gullas will continue to serve them since they are also his constituents.“All in all, I just want to say that I will serve as the mayor of Talisay City, even for those who do not believe in me. I stand for a unifying administration,” Gullas said.Comelec’s answerThe Comelec in Cebu Province expressed no alarm over Bucao’s claims of electoral irregularities.In an interview Friday, Acting Cebu Provincial Elections Supervisor Jerome Brillantes said the board of canvassers of an LGU was allowed to transmit its results as early as 7:30 p.m. once its clustered precincts were closed at exactly 7 p.m.After closing the voting precincts, Brillantes said the election returns can be printed for about 15 minutes, and then returns can be transmitted already.“So what’s the fault about it?” Brillantes told SunStar Cebu. “This is not alarming.”Polling precincts nationwide closed at 7 p.m. Voters who were already in line by the deadline were still allowed to cast their votes.Brillantes said they did their best to come up with a speedy election despite having encountered malfunctions in some of the vote counting machines on Election Day.He also echoed Acting Talisay Election Supervisor Anna Fleur Gujilde’s statement that it would be best if Bucao’s camp would accept defeat, and respect the results and integrity of the elections.Supporters of Bucao’s Barug Lumad Talisaynon have been conducting nightly rallies in front of the Talisay City Hall to air their sentiments on his defeat since the evening of May 9.Bucao has also questioned why he lost significantly even in his own barangay, San Isidro, against Gullas.Bucao parted ways with Gullas after what he alleged was a string of failed promises to field him as Alayon’s mayoral candidate that culminated in Gullas’ wife, Rhea Mae, being made the 2022 official bet, only to later switch places with the incumbent mayor.Based on election results provided by the Comelec, Gullas secured 4,571 votes in San Isidro while Bucao got 3,473 votes.Brillantes advised Bucao’s camp to file a formal complaint or election protest against the reelected mayor in order for the Comelec to answer its doubts and allegations.Vice Mayor Bucao has yet to decide on filing a formal election protest against Gullas although he believed that the move of his supporters was enough proof that anomalies had occurred during the counting of votes. (HIC, MKG)