Koko Pimentel denounces ‘blatant’ dagdag-bawas in Cotabato

May. 27, 2007

MANILA — Genuine Opposition senatorial candidate Aquilino Pimentel III today denounced the alleged blatant attempt of the administrations “special operators” to rig the results of the senatorial contest in North Cotabato and South Cotabato in a bid to dislodge him from the winning column.

Pimentel said the dagdag-bawas operators in the two provinces tampered with the election figures to inflate the vote count of Team Unity candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri by about 230,000 votes.

But he said alert leaders, watchers and lawyers of the Genuine Opposition quickly discovered the scam, by comparing untampered documents in their possession with the falsified certificates of canvass submitted to the Commission on Elections, acting as national board of canvassers.

This prompted the Comelec to suspend the tabulation of the senatorial results from North Cotabato and South Cotabato in the ongoing national canvassing of votes.

Pimentel said he will initiate the filing of electoral sabotage charges against the members of the boards of canvassers in the two provinces under Republic Act 9369 for their participation in the poll rigging.

They have become too brazen in their cheating operation. I will have no pity on the perpetrators of electoral scam. Since they are cheating us by more than 10,000 votes, that is tantamount to electoral sabotage, the GO senatorial contender from Mindanao said.

We will start with members of the provincial boards of canvassers in North Cotabato and South Cotabato. Kailangang masampolan na kaagad para matigil na ang dayaan.

The feedback reaching Pimentels camp showed that he and Zubiri were in a close fight, with Pimentel obtaining 90,000 votes against Zubiris 89,000 votes in North Cotabato.

But when the official results were brought to Comelec Friday, Zubiri’s count ballooned to 265,000 while Pimentels scored stood at 95,000. This gave Zubiri an edge of 170,000 votes over Pimentel.

Pimentel said Zubiris vote count in North Cotabato was nothing short of incredible because reports from the ground showed GO candidate Loren Legarda topping the senatorial derby in that province with 220,000 votes.

In South Cotabato, the GO people led by Rep. Darlene Custodio, reported on Thursday that Pimentel garnered 191,000 votes and Zubiri 141,000 giving the former a lead of 50,000 votes over the latter.

But in the official results to Comelec Friday, Zubiris score was jacked up to 217,000 votes. So instead of being ahead by 50,000 votes, Pimentel was made to appear as behind Zubiri by 27,000 votes in South Cotabato.

Pimentel said the fantastic increase of Zubiris score by 250,000 votes in just two provinces in Mindanao in just one day shows the desperation on the part of those who still want to barge into the winning circle.

I am sure their own calculation confirms my own calculation. But its too late. There is no reason they can catch up with me on the basis of a real count, he said.

The special operators are wrong if they think they are doing Migs Zubiri a favor. As a matter of fact, they are destroying the good name of Zubiri. So they should now stop their misdeed.

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