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Former Gov. Rene L. Relampagos, who sounds quite disgusted on the conduct of the last May 14 elections, appeared to be hanging his gloves in politics after 13 years of service in government.

Relampagos who lost in his congressional bid against the son of last termer Rep. Eladio Jala in the third congressional district, told the Chronicle yesterday that the "irregularities which marred the elections" pushed him to conclude that it is indeed difficult to fight the "establishment," referring to the Commission on Elections which he branded as "bias to those in power."

Relampagos lost by 2,975 votes to Rep-elect Adam Jala during the last elections. Jala pooled 65,081 votes, with Relampagos trailing second with 62,106 votes, Board Member DionisioBalite garnered 28,076 votes while lawyer Alexander Lim landed fourth with 16,737 votes.

He denounced the Comelec for not giving him "a day in court" when his counsel filed their protest before the Provincial Board of Canvassers chaired by Comelec Prov'l Supervisor Veronico Petalcorin against glaring irregularities particularly in the results coming from the towns of Sierra-Bullones, Loay and Pilar. Their allegations of discrepancies including the denial of having been furnished copies of the election returns (ER) and the certificate of canvass (COC) prevented them to file their objections on time.

Relampagos said that while they were ready to file their petition to annul the proclamation, they were deprived of the official transcript of the proceedings which were needed as documentary support to their petition to the Comelec.

The draft of the minutes was not even signed by the stenographer since the documents needed the approval of Petalcorin. Daily follow-ups to get the transcripts proved futile until they decided to put off the filing of the petition, Relampagos revealed.

He repeatedly bared that the "pressure and intimidation present in Sierra-Bullones could be the proof that discrepancies happened in the canvassing of the election returns in several precincts in said town where even the COCs given to the NAMFREL were delayed."

After exerting efforts to file a protest with the poll body, the defeated congressional bet told the Chronicle that he found the efforts an exercise of futility considering the "establishment" you are fighting against.

In a press statement issued yesterday, Relampagos said that "we can always bring our case to court but we are well aware that under the present situation, the legal battle may be a futile exercise."

"A decision may not even be handed down until the next electoral process," he continued.

NEW DIRECTION

The former governor, in his press statement challenged the electorates "not to let another day pass and wait for the next elections to be worse than ever."

Instead of filing protests which results are not expected to come before the next elections, Relampagos instead asked the cross-section of the Boholano community to help "plant into the government service, the seeds of awareness, education and moral strengthening."

In his public statement entitled "Where shall we go from here?" (published elsewhere in this issue), he challenged the people to start thinking "what better way is there to direct our efforts to a much nobler task."

Relampagos, 43, who is a former seminarian, rallied the Boholanos to reinforce the initiative of the church and some well-meaning citizens "for a clean, just and peaceful election even when there is no election. Let us continue and maintain the faith that one day our dreams and we dreamers will be one."

Even without categorically saying that he is leaving politics, Relampagos, in his press statement sounded another pitch in his appeal to those "who believe in his undertakings," to dare move with him and "stand for what is right and truly honorable."

Relampagos who facilitated Jala to get elected as congressman when the former was serving as governor in 1998 said in his press statement, "it was painful to have been deceived by those whom I have helped and trusted."

Jala, serving his last term as congressman fielded his son, lawyer Adam, to run for Congress against Relampagos in the last elections.

He sincerely thanked his supporters, family and the noble men and women he have met during his political journey for the past 13 years while addressing specially those people in the 3rd district who "risked their lives to share their time, talent, resources and votes."

POLITICAL LIFE

Relampagos who got elected as governor at age 31 remains as one of the country's youngest provincial governors, but definitely, the youngest in the province.

He started his political life when he was 25 years old. He got appointed as one of the "7 wise men" of then Gov. Constancio Torralba in 1988. He was appointed during the Aquino regime as provincial board member representing the youth.

His first elected post came as vice governor in 1992 when he won the second highest position in the province against three bets, Dr. Bobong Yap, lawyer Jun Blanco and Rev. Fr. Margarito Gonzaga. Gov. Torralba who ran for governor with Relampagos as running mate lost to Gov. David Tirol.

In 1995, he won his first term as governor when he ran against Bohol's "political wonder boy" David Tirol. He won with then Balilihan Mayor Edgar Chatto as his running mate.

Relampagos' second term as governor in 1998 came as a sweet victory when he toppled former Gov. David B. Tirol.

After serving as governor for six years, his political debacle came in 2001 when he failed to win his third term as governor against then Rep. Erico Aumentado. His running mate, then Calape Mayor Julius Herrera won as vice governor against Dr. Yap who was Aumemntado's running mate. (the Bohol Chronicle, 6/3/2007)

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Romans 10:9
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