Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Comelec is responsible for failure of elections

It’s not failure of elections in some parts of the country, but, its failure of the independent electoral body-COMELEC to conduct fair and clean elections. Massive cheating, vote-buying, intentional disfranchisement of voters, ballot snatching, tampering of election results, terrorism and intimidation are deliberately planned to achieve GMA’s political victory by hook and by crook. Comelec is the extension arm of GMA cheating machine in conspiracy with rogue top military officers. The repeat of 2004 massive fraud is in place. Filipino patriots must stop this Mindanao frenzy.

The usual alibi by Comelec chief Abalos when his men hands caught in cookie jar: ‘HONEST MISTAKE’. No Sir! It’s deliberate and intentional. The fraudulent results in Maguindanao, Lanao, Davao City, Sulu, Zambales and elsewhere need a deeper investigation. Electoral sabotage is a crime against the Filipino people. Fraud witnesses can not come openly due to fear of their lives and safety of their families. They don’t trust the Comelec because it’s closely identified with Jose Pidal and Gloria Arroyo. Comelec has a credibility problem after the Hello Garci political scam. Malacanang surrogate congressional candidate Manny Pacquiao was KO'ed by 98 pounder Magnolia's solid bolo punch in General Santos City, South Cotabato.

Is it true that Comelec chief Abalos had been paid P200 million to install Ben Dy as Isabela governor? Malacanang's dirty hands are all over the place from Batanes Is. up to Tawi-Tawi Is. COMELEC REALLY STINKS!

‘Cat’s paws used for ER thumbmarks, Namfrel says

GO bares massive fraud in Lanao

By Jojo Arazas and Angie M. Rosales

Daily Tribune 05/24/2007

Massive electoral cheating in administration bailiwicks, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) can no longer be ignored — not even by the Com-mission on Elections (Comelec), as the body, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers yesterday was forced to defer the canvassing of votes from Sulu, given that there were massive erasures in the certificates of canvass (CoC), which also showed that two Genuine Opposition (GO) senatorial bets, Alan Peter Cayetano and Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino lll had zero votes from the town of Luuk while nuisance candidate Joselito “Juju” Cayetanoobtained 187 votes.

Alan Cayetano’s lawyer, Leila From page 1

de Lima, questioned Vidzfar Amil Julie, provincial election supervisor of Sulu, on the “noted unauthenticated superimpositions on figures” in the CoC which clearly bore no initials from the poll officers who made the erasures.

At the same time, GO and the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), in separate press conferences, presented their evidence, consisting of video footage and tampered election returns marking the massive election cheating in the province of Lanao.

They sought the help of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Comelec on these issues.

Lanao del Norte chief legal counsel for GO, lawyer Subejano, in a briefing at the GO Headquarters in Makati City, showed media video footage which he said he personally recorded where three ballot boxes from the municipalities of Maigo, Bacolod and Kauswagan were seen as having been tampered with, as the seals of envelopes containing the statements of votes (SoV) and CoC inside the ballot boxes were still wet and tampered with, adding that the seals might have been removed and then pasted again.

For its part, Namfrel showed media election documents that had cat’s paws serving as thumbmarks and asked the Comelec to segregate the votes in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Sulu pending an investigation on reported voting irregularities in the provinces.

Lawyer Howard Calleja, legal counsel of Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said the Comelec should conduct an executive session to get accounts of witnesses on poll fraud.

Subejano said that in one village in Maigo town, he was surrounded by a group of people after he tried to question the canvassing of ballots. He urged the Comelec to stop the canvassing of votes from the three municipalities.

Maigo has an estimated 48,000 to 50,000 registered voters, Bacolod has 14,000 while Kauswagan has 12,000 to 13,000.

“The boxes were forcibly opened. It is very evident that envelops were opened and pasted back as evidenced by the wet paste,” Subejano said.

He disclosed that in some precincts in Tubod, also in Lanao del Norte, he personally witnessed how the words Team Unity were credited to each administration senatorial candidate. “When they were appreciating the votes, I noticed the election officials crediting to each administration candidate votes from ballots where the words Team Unity were written instead of the names of the candidates,” Subejano said.

GO senatorial bet Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel yesterday threatened to file a case of “electoral sabotage” a new crime that is penalized with life imprisonment, as stated in the election law which was passed by Congress in January, against Davao Provincial Board of Canvassers after his watchers noticed his votes were shaved by around 85,000 and added to administration candidate Ralph Recto, with another 70,000 added to TU bet Luis “Chavit” Singson, even as the Comelec officials claimed it was a “clerical error.”

“This is a mockery of the election system. The culprits should be punished,” he said.

GO reelectionist Sen. Panfilo Lacson, who is assured of a new mandate, yesterday rallied behind the planned filing of electoral sabotage charges by Pimentel.

Lacson urged Pimentel to include not only poll fraud operators but also officials of the Comelec and even candidates involved in the conspiracy of cheating, saying it is high time to put a stop to the “culture of cheating in this country.”

“I would love to see a Comelec official and a candidate, winner or loser, spend the rest of their lifetime in jail. The higher (the official), the better. The cheating culture in our country must stop,” he said.

Recto was quick to clear his name, denying any knowledge in what he claimed as an inadvertent addition of votes to him.

“It came as a complete surprise to us,” Recto’s chief of staff, lawyer Aristotle Liwanag said.

Recto said he is amenable to have this probed by the Comelec and the Namfrel to determine whether this was a clerical error.

Recto’s camp raised suspicions that such allegations could be aimed at sabotaging the re-electionist’s candidacy to put a cloud of doubt on the mandate he will receive from the people.

With the numerous reports on massive cheating anew in the recently-concluded electoral exercise, Lacson said those involved in the poll fraud operations in the May 14 elections deserve the distinction of being the first to be charged with the relatively new crime of electoral sabotage

Lacson himself appeared to be a victim of such cheating in Zamboanga del Sur, where he placed fourth or fifth in the tally of the Namfrel. Namfrel then had tallied 46.08 percent of the votes, and Lacson got 60,812 votes.

But after a long delay, the final provincial canvass figures showed Lacson got 80,880 votes, ranking only 15th and was overtaken by the TU “tailender” candidates.

Sec. 42 of Republic Act 9369, the new election law, defines electoral sabotage as a special election offense that penalizes any person, election inspector or canvasser who tampers with the votes with life imprisonment.

Meanwhile, the Namfrel chairman in Marawi City also yesterday exposed more poll fraud evidence in Lanao del Sur towns, presenting some elections returns (ERs) containing marks that even the naked eye could see came from either dogs or cats, and certainly not humans.

This use of thumb marks from cats’ paws were also resorted to in 2004, as shown in many ERs in Mindanao by the opposition in 2004, which the opposition congressmen were also trying to present before the House justice committee in 2005 during the impeachment bid against President Arroyo.

“Look at the thumb marks. They are much too small. Either they used their little finger, or used cats to fill up the space for thumb marks,” Namfrel-Marawi chief Mama Palawan said as he bared the ERs to reporters during a press briefing at La Salle Greenhill in San Juan.

There were also other ERs which contained double entries, with the number of votes higher than the number of voters.

Also explained were the many instances of fraud in Lanao del Sur province where “vote manipulation” is usually done by separating the canvass of votes for the local and the senatorial bets.

The Comelec placed the province of Shariff Kabunsuan in ARMM under its control, and will be sending a new head of the Provincial Board of Canvassers for the province.

Lawyer Jocelyn de Mesa, Comelec Election Supervisor for Parañaque will be flying to the province of Shariff Kabunsuan today, to head the canvassing of the CoC, as the former chairman of the PBOC in the province refused to canvass the CoC due to security reasons.

“Because of security considerations, no one wants to accept the position of head of PBOC so we have this lady who is gutsy enough to accept responsibility. It takes a woman to accept the responsibility. There was a previous lawyer but because of security consideration he backed out”, Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, in charge for the ARMM said, addding that De Mesa will be assisted by Gregorio Lardizabal and Emmanuel Ignacio, Comelec regional directors from Luzon, in the canvassing.

Sarmiento added that these officers have been instructed to finish the canvassing that has already piled up from different municipalities.

“The instruction is to complete the canvassing as soon as possible and to ensure that this will go smoothly, we declare Shariff Kabunsuan under Comelec control. Definitely Marines will be deployed”, he added.

Chairman Benjamin Abalos stressed that there is no need for the transfer of the canvassing in the province. “Let us prove the sovereignty of this government against lawlessness. What are our police, what is our military doing? We cannot rely on them for protection?”

Sarmiento will also be leaving today for Lanao del Sur, and after the special elections will proceed to Maguindanao for the investigation of the Comelec task force that will probe on the alleged election irregularities in Maguindanao. Namfrel and the PPCRV have asked to be part of the task force.

Comelec is set to proclaim senatorial candidates during the weekend. According to Abalos, Comelec will attempt to repeat the feat it did in 2004, where the commission proclaimed the winning candidates in 10 days.

With Kristine Torres

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