I was doing some election work in Pampanga on election day. As votes were getting counted, I heard the report that the turnout was about 60% of the 1,000,000++ votes of Pampanga. But due to the very close fight, my calculation was that the winning vote count should be 210,000. As of the latest count, the candidates are racing to the 200,000 mark with Pineda leading and Panlilio a close second and Lapid a couple of tens of thousands away as third.
Based on advance information on the tabulated election returns, however, Panlilio appears to be a clear winner by a margin of about 1,000 votes over Lilia Pineda. Panlilio took votes from San Fernando and Bacolor, while Pineda brought in a lot from Lubao. Lapid hauled votes from Arayat. However, the Statement of Votes for Mabalacat are being questioned by the Pineda lawyers. Mabalacat has about 60,000 voters, and thus it could swing the votes for any of the three candidates.
Thus, the three-cornered fight might be decided only by just one town, Mabalacat.
On a personal note, I am impressed by Fr. Panlilio's rise as a political player with only 45 days of campaigning. He has put up a good fight, and the people of Pampanga have made a clear statement against the ruling political elite. Let's hope the electoral process resolves itself well in this province.