Philippines: Bayan gearing for post-election protests

May. 12, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today announced that massive post-election protests will be very likely because of massive cheating during the elections.

In its statement for the May 14 elections posted on its website, the militant group called on voters to reject Arroyo and her puppet candidates and to prepare for mass protest actions against the expected massive fraud and violence that has marked the ongoing polls.

The group believes that the current electoral exercise, given the dominance of guns, goons and gold, is fundamentally undemocratic. It even said that the limited legal space enjoyed by partylist groups was not handed on a silver platter since many activists died in the process.

Fraud and violence, bribery and coercion, all these have tainted the electoral exercise ever since the campaign kicked off two months ago. We foster no illusion that the current elections will be truly reflective of the peoples will. Quite the opposite, the incumbent administration simply wants to impose its will on the people by force and through fraud, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

We will continue to support our progressive partylist groups and allied national and local candidates, but we harbor no illusions that the elections will bring about change. Instead, we are preparing for the possible wave of protests that will come after the elections. There will be no lull after the counting and during the canvassing. Our vigilance and efforts have doubled, Reyes said.

Garci part 2

Bayan chair Carol Araullo said that a Hello Garci playback is likely given that many of those involved in the rigging of the 2004 elections are still around and now occupy strategic positions in government and the military.

It is even worse right now than it was in 2004. Back then, only a group of generals were involved in rigging the elections. Now we are getting reports that the entire AFP is being used to influence the outcome of the polls, she said.

It would serve the opposition well if they also prepare to protest election fraud in the courts and in the streets. Of course they will be the main targets of the cheating machinery. However, some administration candidates also cannot be too sure that Malacanang will not junk them and steal their votes come the election canvassing, Araullo added.

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