Opposition using ‘ghost whistleblowers’ to discredit polls: TU

May. 21, 2007

MANILA — Team Unity yesterday blasted the Genuine Opposition (GO) for its crude but coordinated effort to discredit the May 14 senatorial elections in collaboration with other anti-Arroyo forces by raising manufactured stories of electoral fraud and falling for every tall tale on cheating that is being fed to them even by anonymous individuals or ghost whislteblowers.

“Several bright spots in Philippine politics have broken out in last week’s elections to inspire us. Yet, the GO seems to be impervious to these things and its leaders are still at their rehashed, tired song of electoral fraud,” Eastern Samar Governor and Team Unity media director Ben Evardone said.

Evardone said, “Anonymous people or ghost whistleblowers telling big stories about non-existent electoral fraud in Maguindanao or elsewhere may merit headlines but will not change the fact that the 2007 balloting was “one of our democracy’s bright spots.”

“On the whole, democracy and political maturity won in the 2007 elections, despite the shadowy efforts by GO and other anti-Arroyo forces to discredit it,” he said.

He said that during the campaign period and immediately after the elections, the GO and their partisan allies masquerading as electoral watchdogs have concocted sham plots like “Project Mercury Rising.”

“This was complemented by grim scenarios of massive cheating that never happened,” said Evardone, as the conduct of the elections was generally peaceful.

“Now it is the non-stop wailing from the likes of Panfilo Lacson and Aquilino Pimentel Jr., who have been proclaiming their eternal distrust toward the electoral process but who cannot seem to stop running every election season,” he said.

He said that recently-concluded senatorial election was “one of the cleanest” in contemporary history.

The governor suspects that all the “complaining and the griping” is directly related to the ascendant status of the TU bets in the Commission on Elections (Comelec) count, the latest tally of which showed five of its candidates already in the winning slate .

He said that based on voting trends and voters’ sentiment, the TU has the ” reasonable expectation” of getting from six to eight candidates in the winning column.

TU has anchored its road to victory on several factors, primarily an estimated voters’ pool of 5 to 6 million called the “command votes.”

These are voters who decide who to vote for after massive consultations at the grassroots with their local leaders.

This was precisely the case in Maguindanao province, where the 12-0 vote for the TU was decided after the political leaders, all of them pro-administration, conducted public consultations with their followers.

A total of 34 towns in the country have voted straight TU and more of such 12-0 votes are expected to enter the tally soon.

The TU had the luxury of having 267 town and city mayors who were able to dedicate their entire campaign for the pro-administration senatorial candidates because they had no opponents or faced token competition.

TU also banked on the “Club of 56,” the towns that voted straight for the senatorial candidates of President Arroyo in the 2004 elections. (PR)

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