Jones, Isabela—A special election was conducted in Barangay Dicamay 1 here owing to the burning of the vote counting machines or VCMs in the area on election day.
Lawyer Michael Camangeg, provincial election supervisor, said the special election was conducted in clustered precinct number 18 that includes precinct numbers 0037A, 0037N, 0038A, 0038B and 0038P1 in BarangayDicamay 1.
Out of the 786 registered voters, a total of 502 cast their votes for the special poll as of 5 p.m. on Monday.
Reelectionist Mayor Leticia Sebastian of PDP-Laban, now on her last term, bagged 12,569 votes against her rival Lanie Uy of NPC with 9,050 votes.
Meanwhile, Councilor Gaylord Gumpal of NPC, son-in-law of former Assemblyman and Mayor Prospero Bello, was named vice mayor-elect as he garnered 11,167 against opponent Victor Dy’s 9,388 votes.
Sebastian and Gumpal were proclaimed winners by the Comelec ahead of the special election owing to their margins of victory.
Winners for the Sangguniang Bayan were as Evelyn Raspado with 12,896 votes, Suzette Sebastian (12,431), John Sabiniano (9,335), Juluis Raspado (9,129), Villamor Bangloy (8,938), Jadiel Manolo Pandongan (8,784), Glen Albert Cabel (8,537), and Arnulfo Colobong (7,762).
The newly elected council members were proclaimed at 9:35 p.m. at the session hall of the municipal hall.
Earlier, a Comelec official said the outcome of the special election affected the votes of the candidates for councilor.
SB candidate Arland Ramos, who ranked eighth before the VCM and ballots were set on fire, had obtained 7,536 votes, with incumbent councilor Colobong getting 7,411, leaving 125 votes under dispute.
On May 14, election officers said the VCMs were being delivered to the municipal hall aboard a dump truck when it was attacked by two armed men.
Police said the suspects took the truck’s key and torched the VCMs before escaping. They later arrested the suspects, identified as Jayson Leano, 27, and Rodel Pascual, 34, both residents of Santa Isabel, during a pursuit operation in Barangay Diarao.
The suspects allegedly ordered the Board of Election Inspectors to unload the VCMs that they torched, together with the other election paraphernalia, before escaping.
Jones is the only area in Cagayan Valley under the “red” hotspot category due to intense political rivalries.