Mayor-elect denies cheating, outlines plans for Cordova

·5 min read

CORDOVA mayor-elect Cesar “Didoy” Suan would welcome the electoral protest that would be filed against him by his rival, outgoing Mayor Mary Therese “Teche” Sitoy-Cho, who claimed that there were irregularities during the May 9 elections.

In a press conference Friday, May 20, 2022 at the Solea Resort Hotel in Cordova, Cebu, Suan said he was willing to answer all the charges that his rival would file at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc.

Sitoy-Cho’s camp has already filed a motion for disqualification to the Comelec head office against him.

Suan denied the allegations hurled against him by Sitoy-Cho including vote buying, saying he became municipal councilor for the past 15 years without buying votes, and he believed that the Cordovahanons did not want to sell their votes but only wanted change in the leadership of the town, which has been ruled by the Sitoys for almost 50 years.

On his performance, he said, “I was the only councilor who had almost 300 scholars studying in the Cordova Public College.”

The mayor-elect of Cordova hinted that if there had been vote buying, he wasn’t the one who had done it as he described his opponent as having the machinery and a lot of resources being the one leading the administration.

“I am not frightened by her accusations because I did not do such things. Honestly, I am clean and my conscience is clear. We had a peaceful and honest election. We are ready and we will answer in a proper forum all the questions. If her (Cho) supporters will protest, we will welcome everything and we will work hand in hand to make Cordova better, to make Cordova what they have hoped for,” Suan said.

Irregularities

Last Monday, Sitoy-Cho said her camp would file an election protest against the Comelec officials, barangay captains, tanods (watchmen), barangay health workers and teachers reportedly involved in the election irregularities that led to the defeat of the majority of her slate.

She said more than 100 people had witnessed the irregularities that included vote buying, individuals voting more than once, unregistered voters voting, and the existence of pre-shaded ballots.

Lawyer Jessica Banzon-Natad, legal counsel of Sitoy-Cho, said they had already filed a motion for disqualification to the Comelec head office in Manila on May 9 at 10 p.m. against Suan and his partymates who won in the election.

Suan’s running mate, Victor “Boyet” Tago III, defeated reelectionist Vice Mayor Ximgil “Em-Em” Sitoy, for the town’s second top post.

Councilor candidates under Suan such as Jerome Lepiten, Larenz Lagon, Remar Baguio, Lemuel Pogoy, Chito Bentazal and Jose “Joy” Ando Wahing also secured six of the eight seats up for grabs in the municipal council.

Special election

The incoming Cordova mayor said there is a slim chance that the special election requested by Sitoy-Cho would happen since he said Comelec officials claimed that no irregularities occurred during the May 9 election in the town.

Suan, however, said he is willing to face his political opponents if the special election pushes through.

He said he did not need to go to the Comelec to answer the allegations as his conscience was clear and all he wanted was for the Cordovahanons to unite so that they could achieve real change and development for their town, which he envisioned to become a city from being a third class municipality.

Projects

The mayor-elect announced that he would continue the good projects of the outgoing mayor, including the 254-hectare Cordova Reclamation and Development Project, which already had its ground filling ceremony last Feb. 15 after Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, representing project owner Province of Cebu, signed the joint venture agreement with Cordova Shores Development Corp., the consortium that will develop the project.

“The reclamation is not bad as long as we see to it that they have an ecological balance that will be followed. Rest assured, we will balance not just the lives of Cordovahanons but also those of the other living organisms essential in ecology,” Suan said.

He said that when he takes office on July 1, he will also implement some of his promises to the people.

“Within 100 days we will be able to provide two shuttle buses for Cordovahanons and we will be able to provide subsidies, garbage trucks (and others). We will be able to solve the garbage problem gradually,” Suan said.

He also said municipal employees allied with Sitoy-Cho’s administration would be retained pending a re-evaluation.

He would also seek a solution to the traffic congestion in their town due to the newly opened Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), also known as the third bridge, which links Cebu City in mainland Cebu to Cordova town on Mactan Island.

During the May 9 elections, Suan got 21,222 votes against Sitoy-Cho’s 17,052 votes, denying the incumbent a third consecutive term as mayor of the eastern Cebu town.

Sitoy family’s rule

Suan also toppled the 47-year rule of the Sitoys in Cordova, which stretches from 1975 to 2022, with just a brief interruption from 1986-1987 when Deogracias Jumao-as was designated officer in charge-mayor.

Before Teche’s six-year term as mayor began in 2016, her uncle Dr. Celedonio B. Sitoy was Cordova’s mayor from 1975-1986, winning election again from 1988-1998. Teche’s half-brother, Arleigh Jay C. Sitoy, took over the reins of the town from 1998-2007, followed by Teche’s father, Adelino “Addy” B. Sitoy, from 2007-2016. / PAC, TPT, CAL, CTL

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