Nearly a day after it started, the standoff in Compostela town ended with assurances from Interior and Local Governments Secretary Jesse Robredo that he will look into and push the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to resolve the election dispute that deprived the town not only of its mayor but its elected council as well.
The first signs that things will resolve itself in Compostela came early last Thursday, when Mayor-elect Joel Quiño and his allies chose not to stay inside the municipal hall and instead went home.
That wouldn’t be the move made by someone willing to dig into the trenches to ensure his stay in office. If Quiño and his people occupied the Compostela municipal hall before being asked to vacate by the Comelec, expect a lot more resistance, nay even an altercation between them and the police.
As it is, the Compostela police and their support units managed to lock anew the municipal hall and had the benefit of Robredo and Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano IV of Cebu’s 6th district calling in personally to Quiño to persuade him to leave the hall and let the Comelec resolve his petition for reconsideration.
Some local pundits observed correctly that last Wednesday’s takeover attempt may have been encouraged by the influential Durano clan to grab the Comelec’s attention and convince them to immediately resolve Quiño’s petition, Quiño being their man.
One would have to be naïve not to expect the Durano clan’s hand in this and that any claims that the takeover attempt was a “spontaneous” expression of indignation on the part of Quiño’s followers are just laughable.
The fact that Quiño and his people are not denying nor admitting it points to unseen powers-that-be that want not only to see this stalemate resolved, but also to ensure their influence in Compostela town.
But aside from the power play, last Thursday’s resolution at least brought some semblance of normalcy in the town, “normal” being a relative word if one considers minimum basic services and government operations as not only normal but satisfactory.
With Compostela barely getting by, it is in the best interest of residents that they have their own mayor or if not, at least their own vice mayor and council before the year ends.
We cannot for the life of the Comelec understand why one of their divisions ruled not only to deny Quiño the town’s mayoralty seat, but his winning vice mayor and councilors when the petition of Quiño’s rival, Ritchie Wagas, only included him and not his allies.
It was pathetic and disturbing that Quiño and his people would have to resort to last Thursday’s stunt to grab the Comelec’s attention. It’s even more pathetic that the Comelec, to this day, has yet to resolve the problem more than one year after the elections. The Comelec shouldn’t let this month pass without resolving Quiño’s case.
See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.