Foreign Observers Are in for a Shock During Philippines Visit: Beltran

May. 08, 2007

MANILA — Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that the 219 foreign observers from 12 countries set to arrive in the country to monitor the mid-term elections on may 14, Monday will without doubt be appalled by the violence of the supposedly democratic process as practiced in the Philippines.

“They’re in for the shock of their lives. Since 2004, elections in the Philippine shave become even more barbaric and violent, and prone to fraud. The so-called democratic exercise of elections in the Philippines is a battle fought with guns, goons and gold,” he said.

Beltran predicted that like the other foreign visitors from the diplomatic and human rights community who came to the country to investigate the endless spate of extrajudicial killings, the 219 foreign observers of the May 14 polls will also be shocked, appalled and then outraged.

According to figures, 50 politicians and candidates have been killed in this year’s election compared to 41 politicians and candidates killed in the same period in the May 2004 election. Ninety-five people have been killed and 92 others wounded in 131 Election Related Violence Incidents (ERVI’s) recorded since the election period took effect on January 14.

In the 2004 elections, the police authorities recorded a total of 249 ERVIs. These resulted in the death of 189 individuals and the wounding of 279 others.

“We can only hope that the presence of these foreign observers will help discourage the outbreak of more election violence as well as the perpetuation of massive electoral fraud. On the other hand, there’s also no more accounting for what the dirty-tricks department of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration has in store for May 14. We already know, however, that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are already set to protect Team Unity’s votes while posing serious threats against the turnout for the Genuine Opposition. The massive deployment of armed troops of election day is something the foreign observers will immediately notice,” he said.

Beltran said that another glaring proof that the elections in the Philippines are not a genuinely democratic process is the continuing attacks against the bloc of progressive party-lists led by Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party. The deployment of military troops in Metro Manila was specifically intended to stop the progressive party-lists from campaigning in the urban poor communities.

In the meantime, Beltran said that the criminalization of the officials of the progressive polls is also certain to catch the attention of the foreign observers.

Beltran, Anakpawis’ first nominee, was unable to campaign for Anakpawis because he remains incarcerated on false charges of rebellion and sedition. Bayan Muna and GWP’s lawmakers have also been charged with rebellion and murder. Anakpawis’ party-list officials including vice-chairman Rafael Baylosis and executive committee Randy Echanis have also been charged with murder.

In the meantime, over 830 political activists of which 300 were members of progressive party-lists and their allied people’s organizations have been killed since 2001. The figure has bloated since 2004 right after Macapagal-Arroyo secured another six years in office through electoral fraud. #

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