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BACOLOD CITY — Moises Padilla mayor-elect Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo has expressed her gratitude to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for ensuring the security of the people in her hometown, which allowed them to vote freely during the May 13 elections.

“We really thank (those who have helped us) especially Tatay Digong. Because of his assurance for the safety of the voters, the people went out to vote,” Garcia-Yulo told reporters at the Provincial Capitol, where she took her oath of office before Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. on Thursday.

Duterte visited the central Negros town on May 8, two days after it was placed under the control of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) mainly due to poll-related violence, which claimed the lives of two members of Garcia-Yulo’s family.

She accused outgoing Mayor Magdaleno Peña of masterminding the twin slay, an allegation denied by the top town official, who is a cousin of her father, the late mayor Jose Garcia.

Garcia-Yulo garnered 13,056 votes to defeat Peña, who obtained only 5,493 votes.

She said the residents of Moises Padilla achieved the freedom they longed for when they were able to exercise their right to vote during the May 13 mid-term elections.

“This is the most painful and the most costly election for us. If Marc and Michael did not sacrifice their lives for us maybe I won’t be here now,” the mayor-elect said.

On April 25, her brother, former Association of Barangay Captains president Jose Marcelino “Marc” Garcia, 40, and her nephew, reelectionist councilor Jose Antonio “Michael” Garcia, 28, were shot to death while leading their convoy going home after a house-to-house campaign in Barangay Inolingan.

The late Michael Garcia topped the race for a Sangguniang Bayan seat. His younger brother, Vincent, will assume his post as councilor.

During Duterte’s visit, he met separately with Peña and Garcia-Yulo before presiding at a security meeting with officials of the Philippine National Police and the Philippine Army in Western Visayas at Moises Padilla Elementary School.

Garcia-Yulo said the Chief Executive promised that her family will attain justice.

For his part, Peña said in a media interview that when the President told him that he wants violence to end in Moises Padilla, he replied, “You’re the boss. Consider it done.”

Moreover, Garcia-Yulo also acknowledged the assistance of Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. and vice governor-elect Jeffrey Ferrer to their family.

 

“Both of them responded immediately to help us,” she added. (Nanette Guadalquiver, NDB)

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