Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Massive Cheating In Chavit's Country

Massive cheating in Ilocos Sur province is nothing new. Comelec officials, school teachers, district prosecutors and municipal treasurers are helpless to stop electoral fraud. Influential warlord rules!
Vice-Governor Deogracias Victor “DV” Savellano, a candidate of the Lakas-CMD-TU won over its opponent Efren “Rambo” Rafanan of the Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP)-UNO and independent candidate Roque Sison. Savellano garnered 132,656 votes over Rafanan who got 131,264 votes. Gov.-elect Savellano won a margin of 1,392 votes against Rafanan.

Chavit behind manufacture of votes, cheating’

Bishop, priests condemn Ilocos Sur poll fraud

Daily Tribune 05/23/2007

Priests in Ilocos Sur, supported by their bishop, Nueva Segovia Archbishop Ernesto Salgado, yesterday condemned “the dirty conduct” of the 2007 elections in Ilocos Sur, pointing to the massive vote-buying and vote-selling, along with what they called “opponent-buying” for an unopposed candidacy.

In a statement, the group of priests also backed calls demanding a recount and recanvass of votes at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Manila.

Sources from Ilocos Sur told the Tribune yesterday that while the counting and canvassing were ongoing, with gubernatorial candidate Efren Rafanan of the Genuine Opposition way ahead of his rival, Vice Governor Savellano, Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson, along with his heavily armed bodyguards, was busy ordering mayors and even election officers in several towns where the canvassing was still ongoing, not to canvass the votes cast by the Ilocos Sur electorate, and ensure that whatever town Savellano was losing to Rafanan, the towns where canvassing was just starting would simply add the votes of Rafanan to Savellano, while canvassing in other towns and cities were allegedly ordered by Chavit to stop the canvassing — until such time that the election returns (ERs) could be replaced.

In the town of Candon, there was no canvassing at all,” Rafanan told the Tribune yesterday in a telephone interview. He said that whatever was the lead of Rafanan over Savellano, which according to Rafanan, the precinct count even then already showed a Rafanan lead of some close to 10,000 votes, would be offset, through the manufacture of votes in Candon town.

In other areas, such as Cabugao, there were witnesses’ reports of ballot-snatching and switching, he said.

In San Vicente town, where Rafanan was also leading, his watchers were all harassed and made to leave the canvassing area.

“Three mayors who are with me already tipped me off early, saying that Chavit was personally calling all the mayors and ordering them not to make me win, or else,’ Rafanan said, adding that even the election officers were threatened by Chavit and his men.

“They were so scared of Chavit, that they did what he wanted them to do,” he stressed.

Rafanan also pointed out that City Election officer Fidel Fines was placed in the top seat just a day before by the Comelec, “precisely to ensure that he would cheat for Chavit’s candidate (Savellano) by shaving my votes.”

While the canvassing was going on in other towns, Rafanan recounted, Chavit went on the air, telling one and all that the figures he was giving out, which were manufactured figures, were the results of the gubernatorial, congressional and gubernatorial races, even when there was still no canvassing of votes ongoing,

Other sources in Ilocos Sur, whom the Tribune contacted yesterday, confirmed the allegations of Rafanan, but also said that there was as well, cheating done in the senatorial count, again with Chavit ordering everyone to ensure that he gets the highest number of votes in Ilocos Sur.

It was alleged by the sources that even in Ilocos Sur, Singson was being repudiated by his constituents.

The priests and their bishop publicly stated that they observed the following means to thwart the will of the Ilocos Sur voters.

They stated that the Election Returns (ERs) were delivered without any seal. This was confirmed by the the Nassa-Namfrel team.

Page 3 of the ER from precinct 5, Brgy. Ballaigi, Sinait, was substituted.

The number of valid ballots was greater than number of registered voters.

They added the reports of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voters (PPCRV) poll watchers that said they were not given the Citizens’ Accredited Arm copy at the precinct. Instead, they were required to secure these from the municipality.

They also noted the blank and incomplete data on voters and ballots in a number of ERs.

There was also a delay in canvassing in Candon City and in the provincial Canvass, as well as reports of suspension of canvasing in several towns where Rafanan was winning.

In the town of Candon, where Rafanan said he was winning by some 6,000 votes, the certificates of canvass (CoC) were found to have major erasures in the gubernatorial post which were, however, not countersigned.

They also noted that the Narvacan CoC’s total votes were not written in words, as required by law and poll rules.

Rafanan was earlier reported to be leading Savellano, Chavit’s candidate and said in Ilocos to be the “front man” of Chavit in the yearly diversions of the tobacco excise tax during the time Chavit was out of his gubernatorial position, and “then suddenly, Chavit was giving all the orders to the election officers, who all obeyed him.”

In denouncing the massive electoral fraud in Ilocos Sur, the priests protested against the “injustice done to our people by the desecration of their right to choose and elect their leaders.”

They added that they also condemn political dynasties.

The Singsons have cornered the posts in Ilocos Sur, with sons, cousins and other relatives taking all the elective seats.

The priests blessed by their bishop, said in their statement that they support “all moves to demand the recounting/recanvassing of votes at the Comelec Manila at the fastest possible time to ensure truth and justice as well as confidence in our election processes.”

Additionally, they said they commit themselves to the ongoing political education and mobilization of the people under our care, geared toward political transformation.”

Signatures were affixed last May 21 at the Aula de Nuestra Señora de Caridad, at the archbishop’s residence in Vigan City. NCO

Comelec, Arroyo administration both liable for questionable May 14 polls

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