The new mayor of Araceli town in northern Palawan is struggling for acceptance from her own constituents after she won via a toss coin.
Mayor Sue Cudilla said that although supporters of former mayor Noel Beronio did not barricade the municipal government building on July 1 like what they threatened to do, they have been spreading claims she will not last in her office beyond a month.
Cudilla said despite this, she is hoping everyone will accept that she is already the new mayor.
“Hindi naman sila nag-barikada pa, wala na ring nangyari na katulad ng inaasahan ko at mabuti na lang din ay wala. Siguro nakapagisip-isip sila na tapos na ako magtake oath. ‘Yon lang at sinasabi na naman nila na hanggang isang buwan lang daw akong uupo, hindi ko alam basta pagkatapos natin manumpa ay alam naman natin. Sana tanggapin na lang ng taong bayan kung sino na ang nandito ngayon,” Cudilla said.
On Monday, which was supposed to be the inaugural session of the municipal council, only two councilors were present.
Cudilla said Vice Mayor Eddie Daculap was unable to return at that time from a trip.
“Supposedly, inaugural session kahapon buti hindi pa umuwi si Vice at dalawang Sangguniang Bayan members lang ang present. But I have already asked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) kung may magiging problema ba, ang sabi naman ay wala,” she said.
Cudilla and Beronio received 3,495 votes each from the town’s 7,238 voters out of a total of 9,125 registered.
The tie was resolved by the Municipal Board of Canvassers (MBOC) through a toss coin they both agreed upon.
In an earlier interview with Palawan News after the mass oath-taking on Sunday, Cudilla said that she already coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) if there will be a barricade in the municipal hall.
She claimed that supporters of the former mayor are spreading reports that she cannot assume her office.
“Kinakalat nila na talagang gagawin nila ang lahat para hindi ako makaupo. Nakarating sa aking kaalaman na may barikada nga silang gagawin kaya nakipag-coordinate na ako sa mga law enforcers,” she said.
Cudilla called on municipal government employees to forget the political dispute and instead start again for the welfare of the Araceli residents.
The new mayor said she is ready to leave the decision “to luck” if she will become mayor of Araceli because there is “no other option.”
“Sa tingin ko wala naman po akong option talaga kasi ‘yon na rin lang talaga ‘yong sinasabi ng batas. So mag-abide na lang talaga siguro kung ano ba talaga ‘yong ano… sasabihin ng COMELEC,” she said.
Of the town’s 13 barangays, she lost eight votes in 12.
The votes in the last barangay were not counted on time because of the defective SD card.
Jomel Ordas, Commission on Elections (COMELEC) provincial spokesperson, said the MBOC may toss a coin to resolve the tie between the two rivals.
Ordas said breaking ties through coin flipping is allowed under Section 240 of the Omnibus Election Code.