Zamboanga Sibugay canvassers face raps for vote-padding

May. 29, 2007

MANILA, Philippines — Partylist groups Kabataan, Suara Bangsamoro, Anakpawis, Gabriela and
Bayan Muna today filed charges of “electoral sabotage” against the provincial canvassers of Zamboanga Sibugay over the alleged padding of votes in favor of pro-administration partylist groups Uni-Mad and Coop-Natco.

Charged with violation of Section 42 of Republic Act 9369 and Section
58 of Comelec Resolution 7859 were Comelec officer Atty. Edmund Rey
Calo, chairperson, Provincial Atty. Jeric Kagaoan, vice chairperson,
and the Department of Education’s Manuel Muyargas, secretary, of the
Zamboanga Sibugay provincial board of canvassers.

Under RA 9369, the crime of electoral sabotage includes acts committed
by canvassers who tamper, increase or decrease the votes received by a
candidate in any election. The penalty is life imprisonment.

In their complaint, the partylist groups alleged that the provincial
canvassers tampered with the results of at least six municipal COCs,
namely COC numbers 0000436, 0000442, 0000438, 0000434, 0000433,
0000443 and padded Coop-Natco votes.

Instead of crediting Coop-Natco with a total 1,723 votes for the six
municipal COCs, the provincial canvassers gave the partylist group
10,447 votes.

Uni-Mad votes were also padded by the provincial canvassers. Unimad
got 281 votes from the same six municipal COCs but the provincial
canvassers placed the figure 16,194 in the statement of votes.

The six municipal COCs cover the towns of Kabasalan, R.T. Lim, Siay,
Malangas, Diplahan, Imelda and Talusan.

Submitted to the Comelec as evidence of votepadding were a copy of the
Statement of Votes by Municipality No. 0000160, and copies of the six
municipal COCs. Entries in the SOV by Municipality did not match the
figures in the municipal COCs.

“Only Members of the Canvass Committee and its tabulators or members
of the Provincial Board of Canvassers could have been responsible for
the tampering of votes in the Statement of Votes by Municipality
because the said SOVs could have only been tampered with when it was
under their custody. These respondents have the duty not to alter
these SOVs without following the procedure outline by law or Comelec
rules. They are responsible for ensuring that these SOVs are not
tampered with by others,” said the complainants.

They pointed out that “the padding of votes increases the threshold 2%
of the votes for the party list system, making it difficult for the
party list groups, especially the smaller party list groups like
Complainant Suara and Kabataan, to get a seat in Congress.”

Complainant Kabataan Partylist has surpassed the number of votes it
obtained in the 2004 elections and remains in the running to obtain
the required number of votes matching the 2% threshold which has grown
due to vote-padding and the introduction of administration-instigated
partylist groups such as Uni-Mad.

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