Sunday, March 11, 2007


The credibility of the electoral body, the Comelec to conduct fair and honest May 2007 elections remains a one centavo question. The Comelec's cheating infrastructure is still in place. There are circumstantial evidences for the repeat of 2004 electoral fraud. Philippines bogus President Gloria Arroyo has tapped former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to run the administration’s election operations in Mindanao after failing to find a suitable replacement. The military is actively involved in partisan politics by harassing and intimidating party-list candidates and their supporters in Metro Manila's slums districts. Defense chief Ebdane and AFP chief Esperanto are directly involved in 2004 fraud. Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos has not conducted an official investigation in the alleged massive electoral fraud in the last presidential election. The recent burning of Comelec HQ office in Manila may deliberately set to hide vital evidences in alleged public bidding anomalies. It destroyed millions of pesos worth of computer units intended for the botched poll automation as well as records related to the disputed 2004 presidential and senatorial elections. A clean election is still a pipe dream.

Comelec is burning

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Harriet Demetriou reports that Comelec employees told her the master list of registered voters for the whole country was burned during the suspicious fire which gutted the old Comelec building last Sunday.

With no master list as basis, Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. can now make a new list containing the five million additional voters he had announced previously.

This is contrary to his recent statement that no records were burned that will affect the 2007 elections. A fabricated new list of voters for provinces and congressional districts will assure the victory of Malacañang’s congressional and local candidates.

Chairman Abalos should now have the decency to resign. To say the least, too many mysterious happenings have occurred during his incumbency. It is not only the Comelec building that has been destroyed. The credibility of the Comelec and Chairman Abalos has been razed to the ground. Hello, hello chairman. Amb. Ernesto Maceda

Claims NPO can’t finish task on time
Comelec hints at outside print jobs for ERs, CoC

By Marie A. Surbano
Daily Inquirer 03/11/2007
The country appears to be headed for a repeat of the 2004 polls that were marked with fraud, with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday broadly hinting that the printing of election returns (ERs), certificates of canvass (CoC), and statements of votes (SoV) and even the ballots themselves will be jobbed out to outside printers, using the time element as the poll body’s justification.
A senior official of the Comelec yesterday hinted at plans of the Comelec to have other printers to do the job tasked to the National Printing Office as he expressed serious doubts that the NPO would be able to complete the printing of ballots and other election paraphernalia on time.
Comelec Executive Director Jose Pio Joson admitted that to print 45 million ballots alone, the NPO will be needing at least three to four months to complete the ballot print job order on time.
“We are short of time, and the time we stated (three to four months) does not even include the time to be spent for transporting the ballots and other materials, along with circumstances that we cannot determine right now,” Joson pointed out.
Joson explained that the NPO, just for the printing the ballots, would need 45 days, if it is to print one million ballots per day plus an
additional two weeks to print the election returns (ERs), the statement of votes (SoV), voters registration documents, and the certificate of canvass (CoC).
“NPO is printing all these election paraphernalia together so there is apprehension (on the part of the Comelec) that if one is delayed, everything will be delayed,” he stressed.
It was only last Monday when the NPO started printing the ballots.
It will be recalled that in 2004, the Comelec under its chairman, Benjamin Abalos Sr., was reported to have jobbed out the printing of ERs and COC without even alerting the concerned party repre-sentatives.
This assignment to private printers, sources then said, opened the door for the excess printing of SoVs, ERs and CoC, along with the proliferation of fake election documents that were all used for the massive cheating operations that occurred in 2004.
It was also charged by some NPO employees that in 2004, the then NPO chief waived the printing job to outside printers.
They accused the now NPO officer in charge of having committed election printing irregularities.
It will also be recalled that in 2004, the opposition charged that four rolls of security paper to be used for printing went missing. This was denied by the Comelec chief and the Namfrel, even if they refused to have an investigation conducted.
For the elections, Comelec has allocated more than P800 million for the printing of ballots, ERs, SoV, CoC as well as the purchase of other election materials such as ink, pens, and others.
Joson said that by the middle of April or next month, the printing of ballots, ERs, SoV, COC, should have been completed because the first shipment of the accountable forms should be out by March 12 or 15 for the overseas absentee voting (OAV).
“Absentee voters are voting as early as April 15 so we need to send these (accountable) forms by March 12 to 15 in order for these forms to reach their destination on time,” Joson added.
Moreover, the official noted that within the first week of May or two weeks before election, all forms should have been transported to the regions and have been distributed to the city and municipal treasurers because five days before the scheduled May 14 polls these are to be checked and verified to ensure that all the needed materials are accounted for properly.
“Five days before election these materials should be in the hands of the treasurers so they could verify if these are missing in order for us at the Comelec to come up with a quick solution, otherwise we will really have problems,” Joson said.
Aside from the OAV, the priority areas of the Comelec where ballots and other election materials are being shipped early are the far flung areas of Mindanao.
As of this time, the Commission still has no exact figure of the total number of registered voters nationwide but it has estimated the voting population to reach to 45 million.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Francis “Chiz” Escudero, who is running under the Genuine Opposition ticket and is one of the GO candidates ranking high in surveys, Saturday expressed incredulity over the 45 million registered voters the Comelec has has announced.
In a press statement sent to media outlets, the senatorial candidate pointed out that the country’s population stands at 87 million.
He wondered whether it is possible that more than half of the population are voters.
The youthful senatorial candidate said the Philippines, like all developing countries with high population growths, is a country of young people. That means, he said, that there are more children, who are not of voting age, than there are adults.
“If we are to accept the number of registered voters as true, we must assume that even pupils in the elementary grades and students in high school are included in the count,” he said.
According to Escudero other people may doubt the moral integrity of the commissioners, but no one can question their intelligence. On that premise, he added, the only conclusion that can be drawn from the huge number is that the list of voters is padded.
Escudero raised the possibility that Comelec may have allowed multiple registration or, worse, the registration of non-existent voters. If it has unwittingly done so, he said, the obvious remedy is to purge the list.
He observed that at any one time there are 10 million Filipinos who live and work overseas.
“The rule requires that names of voters who fail to exercise the right of suffrage in four consecutive elections must be removed from the list,” he said. “Those who have taken foreign citizenship fall under this category, unless they opt to retain their Filipino citizenship under the dual citizenship law.
“He added that “those who are in jail, especially those whose conviction has become final, along with the dead, should not be counted among the voters.
“Of course, migrant workers who are away only temporarily should be retained in the list. But the teachers, who man the polling places, should make sure that nobody votes in the name of an absent or dead voter,” he said.
In 2004, the Comelec was already alerted to the fact by the opposition candidates that the increase of voters in Cebu jumped to 50 percent, which they said was a mathematical possibility, as only a usual percentage of 3 to 5 would the normal increase rate within a three year time frame.
In the polls of 2004, it was also discovered, through the documents under protest that in many instances, especially in Mindanao, the vote count was much more than the number of registered voters listed in the document.
Comelec also was found to have disenfranchised millions of voters during the presidential elections, as the voters registration lists in bailiwicks of the opposition, were said to have been deliberately mixed up, in a bid to prevent the opposition voters from casting their vote.
The 2004 polls were marked by massive fraud, with the military and police generals identified with Mrs. Arroyo even participating actively in the cheating operations, as evidenced by the now infamous Hello Garci tapes, containing conversations between then poll commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano and President Arroyo on the cheating operations, which even included the kidnapping of election officers and their families who do not follow the orders to cheat.
A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed in October last year between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Comelec, which forbids the participation of the military in the elections, except to vote, claiming this MoA would prevent a repeat of 2004, and that the military would remain an apoliticla force.
But even as the military has been engaging in political partisan activities by deploying its troops in Metro Manila villages to harass and intimidate voters into rejecting certain leftist party list groups, and despite a formal complaint lodged by these party lists groups with the Comelec, Abalos claimed that the Comelec could not intervene since the military was not engaging in a political activity.

Related Links:
3 caught copying ballot serial numbers--sources
Comelec fire alarms opposition bets
OIC printing chief also facing graft charges

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