Saturday, May 19, 2007

Poll staff filled up Maguindanao ballots

Maguindanao 12-0 TU clean sweep is highly questionable. The old sayings, when there’s smoke there’s fire. Gloria Arroyo needs more certified TUTA (puppet) in the Senate like Defensor, Pichay and Zubiri. Most likely election manipulators are targeting Aquino, Alan Cayetano, Pimentel and Trillanes in dagdag-bawas scheme. Why the Abalos’ Comelec allow this to happen? Is the discredited NAMFREL part of the conspiracy? Battery of GO-UNO lawyers may not enough to guard the true mandate of the Filipino people. Continuous peoples’ vigilance against the cheaters until the last election return (ER) is counted. Ibasura ang mga bantay salakay-COMELEC at NAMFREL!

Int’l Observers Hit Fraud, Military Intervention in Philippine Polls

Poll staff filled up Maguindanao ballots

Daily Tribune 05/20/2007

The truth will always come out somehow and the truth about Team Unity’s 12-0 victory in Maguindanao, where TU senatorial candidate Luis “Chavit” Singson topped the Senate vote, is that there was no voting in Maguindanao, and worse, the ballots and the summary of votes were filled up by teachers assigned to man the polls and thumbmarked by children even before the scheduled polls.

A participant of the wholesale Maguindano vote fraud who turned whistleblower, exposed this wholesale election fraud yesterday in an interview over radio dzRH, baring that the voting was over even before the precincts were scheduled to open.

At the same time, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente) which works alongside the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and other watchdog groups, called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to speedily probe the 12-0 votes and suspend canvassing of poll results in areas that produced the 12-0 vote, the latest of which came from Bohol and reportedly, Eastern Samar, as claimed by TU.

Reports reaching the Lente network stated that it was the teachers who wrote out the names in the ballots in Mindanao while children were also used in the cheating operations to put in the thumb marks, which explains the very tiny thumbmarks found in some copies of the election documents in Mindanao.

The Lente charges appeared to have been substantiated by a participant in the cheating operations who turned whistleblower, baring all this during an interview over radio.

The teacher, who went by the alias of “Bai,” bared the wholesale electoral fraud in Maguindanao which resulted in a 12-0 vote for the administration TU bets.

She said the fraud was done a day before the polls, or May 13.

She recounted that she and her colleagues were ordered by Maguindanao Governor Ampatuan to fill out the ballots with the names of TU candidates which were handed to them in a list. These names, with Chavit Singson’s at the top of the list, followed by TU Prospero Pichay in second place, followed by 10 more from TU, were written down as ordered on the ballots prior to election day.

They were also ordered to copy the name of Ampatuan for the gubernatorial votes.

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader former ARMM Gov. Nur Misauri is reportedly losing heavily in the ARMM regions (see related story).

Ampatuan is the current ARMM governor.

Bai claimed during that interview that there were only three of them filling up the ballots, saying in the vernacular that they signed some of the ballots but that most of these ballots were unsigned.

She also pointed out that she, along with her companions in the cheating operations, were brought to the safehouse to fill up these ballots.

Bai also stated during the radio interview that children were rounded up and brought to place their thumb marks on the ballots.

Lente issued an urgent call for the Comelec to stop the canvassing in all these areas where a claimed 12-0 TU vote occurred.

But Comelec officials appear to be reluctant to move, with commissioners even claiming that these allegations of fraud must first be substantiated.

The earlier response of Comelec commissioner Rene Sarmiento on the Maguindano vote was that the people should understand that the Muslims have a different culture and vote differently.

Yesterday, however, the Comelec ordered the poll officers in Maguindanao to release the Election Returns to the Namfrel volunteers, and directed AMM director Ray Sumalipao to order the same to the ARMM officers.

Earlier, the votes shaved off from two Genuine Opposition senatorial candidates, Francis “Chiz” Escudero and Alan Cayetano, both of whom lost 100,000 votes each, but which were restored the next day, Comelec chief Benjamin Abalos, Sr. claimed it was not evidence of dagdag-bawas fraud, but that these were merely “clerical errors.”

It was noted, however, that only the two GO candidates’ votes were shaved and the Comelec commissioners, acting as a national canvassing board, failed to clarify whether those lost votes were added to other candidates.

Abalos pointed out that the commissioners, reading the certifications of canvass (CoC) were those who noticed the discrepancy and immediately acted on it. “If you will see how we’re doing it here, it is a commissioner reading the number of votes being validated or audited by another commissioner and in case of a difference, immediately the attention of the one reading the certificate of votes is called by the other commissioner validating”, Abalos explained.

He added that the counsels of both candidates was already told of the finding of the tabulation board, and that they had no objections to the result of the verification.

Moreover, Abalos also explained that there are several reasons that affected the number of registered voters and precincts in Iloilo City.

The counsel of GO senatorial candidate Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel pointed out yesterday, during the canvassing of the CoCs coming from Iloilo that there was a difference in the reports from the Comelec in the number of precincts and voters in the province.

“The number of voters he was referring to was under date of March,the elections, May. You have to consider transferees who were not located before. Number two, those discoveries of people who were already dead because of the reports that came in. Three, per order of the court those who were excluded, are now included. And those who were omitted by mistake in the list of voters, that accounts for the difference, I hope people will understand that these were not done to increase or decrease the number of registered voters”, Abalos said.

He added that the number of precincts decreased because these were clustered. He noted it would be impractical to have a separate precinct that only has 30 to 40 voters, so they were clustered to mother precincts.

The Comelec commissioners, through their spokesman, James Jimenez, also berated the international poll monitors’ groups, for claiming that massive fraud marked the 2007 elections before the media, yetthey never bothered to give the Comelec their report on the alleged fraud.

He challenged them to substantiate their charges of poll fraud, before claiming fraud.

But the international monitors have already shown, on television, the video clips of these instances of poll fraud.

For its part, Malacañang yesterday challenged GO to produce evidence that President Arroyo had a hand in an alleged vote shaving and padding in favor of the Team Unity’s senatorial candidates in Maguindanao province.

In phone interviews, both presidential legal counsel Sergio Apostol and presidential legal counsel Gabriel Claudio castigated the GO camp.

Malacañang was irked over GO’s complaints that the Maguindanao 12-0 score in favor of TU was a result of a massive vote padding and shaving orchestrated by the Chief Executive.

“The President has not given any order to her men to engage in any form of cheating. Although it is true that the President gave an order for her Cabinet secretaries to campaign for her senatorial and congressional candidates in these elections, there were no orders for them to commit fraud or engage in any illegal moves,” Apostol claimed.

He challenged GO senatorial bet Panfilo “Ping” Lacson to produce evidence that the 12-0 victory in Maguindanao province was a result of Malacañang-initiated cheating operations.

“We’re challenging Lacson to come out with concrete evidence not just mere speech. How can they claim there had been cheating in Maguindanao when they don’t have any watchers, no local candidates there? Where did they get those malicious charges? They should stop dreaming and instead come out with a factual evidence,” Apostol added.

Apostol who is also a Lakas CMD regional director, an ally party of the President said they are always prepared to cooperate with the Comelec to prove that there was no cheating in Maguindanao.

“We’re open to any investigation and we would not interfere in any investigation to be done by the Comelec,” he said.

Lacson had specifically pinned Claudio as the “brain” behind the poll fraud allegedly on going.

But Claudio in a text message also yesterday defended the victory of TU in Maguindanao, in the midst of his earlier denial of engaging in electoral fraud.

“The victory of TU in Maguindanao does not mean GO candidates got zero votes in the province. It just means the electorate there favored all 12 candidates of the administration ahead of any GO candidate. Given the political culture and leadership pattern in Maguindanao, a 12-0 win for TU in the area is plausible. It is probably no more than the exercise of a shared political stand expressed through a bloc vote, as explained by provincial leaders and residents themselves,” he said.

“Nevertheless, any questions regarding the election results in the province can and should be resolved through the regular mechanisms provided by law under the supervision of Comelec,” he added. Kristine V. Torres, Sherwin C. Olaes and Tribune wires

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