Moro groups hit AFP deployment in Mindanao as stage for massive fraud

May. 04, 2007

Moro groups are wary that electoral fraud will occur again in ARMM.

This after Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon declared that more checkpoints will be established on electoral hotspots to ensure peaceful and orderly elections.

Suara Bangsamoro Partylist chair Zaynab Ampatuan said “General Esperon is merely justifying stronger military presence in Mindanao this elections to repeat what happened in 2004.”

She recalled that one million votes in ARMM were shaved in 2004 with the presence of the military.

“The worst case of electoral fraud in Philippine history — vote-padding, vote shaving, name it and it all happened in Mindanao. And the military was there,” said Ampatuan.

It was reported that the ‘Hello Garci’ scandal occurred in Lanao del Sur, where vote padding led to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s victory in the Presidential election in 2004.

Suara also complained that they lost thousands of votes due to fraud.

Meanwhile, the KAWAGIB Moro Human Rights Organization also expressed concern that human rights violations could escalate with more AFP deployment in Sulu, Shariff Kabunsuan, and in other ARMM areas.
“During the 2004 presidential elections, some voters complained about having to vote inside military camps, some voters and even Comelec officials complained about military harassment especially if they would vote for progressive partylist groups,” Sittie Sundang, KAWAGIB secretary general recalled.

With such scenario, Kawagib called for the pullout of troops from polling precincts and hotspots.

Ampatuan called on the people, “2007 must not be a repeat of what happened in 2004. We know our votes were stolen from us, it is time to protect our votes.”

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