Philippines: Opposition turning into ‘confederacy of gripers,’ says TU

May. 22, 2007

MANILA — The desperate effort by Genuine Opposition (GO) leaders to void the election results in Maguindanao and their allegations that special operations are being undertaken to place four more Team Unity candidates into the win column are part of the calibrated ploy to taint the integrity of the May 14 polls and abort the smooth transition to the formation of a new Congress, Team Unity said yesterday.

“Isolated incidents of electoral dishonesty had spared the senatorial elections and the May 14 balloting was on the whole an exercise in integrity. All of these post-electoral tantrums from the opposition can only be linked to a systematic effort to undermine the recently-concluded democratic exercise,” said Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone.

Evardone, who is TU media director, said neither Malacaang nor the pro-administration ticket had lifted a finger to influence the outcome of the senatorial elections in Maguindanao, and neither of them is undertaking action to illegally push more TU candidates into the winners’ circle in the national canvassing.

With the 8th to 12 slots in the senatorial race still up for grabs, Evardone said earlier that given the entry of four to five pro-administration bets in the ongoing canvassing by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), TU was more optimistic than ever of hitting its “reasonable forecast” of six to 8 winners in the final count.

Based on the 12-0 votes by an increasing number of towns and election results from pro-administration strongholds like Cebu and Negros Oriental, he said “the optimism that more TU candidates will enter the winning column is complemented by actual votes that are about to enter the official tally by the Comelec.”

Field reports reaching the TU headquarters in Manila showed that six TU candidates won in Negros Oriental while seven made it in Cebu province, except for Cebu City North and the town of Bogo.

At least 34 towns nationwide have delivered 12-0 for TU, and the ticket expects to get similar voting results in a significant number of the 267 towns and cities where the reelectionist mayors had ran unopposed or with token challengersand had devoted full-time to campaigning for TUas well as in the 56 towns that voted for all 12 pro-administration senatorial bets in the 2004 polls.

“For the TU, the mantra is to fight fair and square and never whine. The GO, in contrast, is turning out into a ‘confederacy of gripers,'” Evardone said.

He said that TU would not mind if GO candidates Antonio Trillanes and Alan Peter Cayetano make it to the Senate, “so long as they really won in the voting.”

“Incessant complaining does not a senator make. Trillanes and Cayetano should be reminded of this. The public has grown tired of their non-stop blabbering, especially about tall tales of fraud under a make-believe plot dubbed Project Mercury Rising,” Evardone said.

Rep. Simeon Datumanong of Maguindanao recently told a newspaper columnist that the GO completely ignored the province in its campaign and had failed to field candidates in 20 of the 22 towns of the province. The candidates allied with the opposition in the two towns were token candidates.

The GO never visited Maguindanao, unlike the TU candidates who barnstormed Mindanao a full week before the elections.

Hence, the 12-0 outcome in Maguindanao was expected, Datumanong was quoted as saying in that report.

Evardone bewailed that the camps of Trillanes and Cayetano have degenerated into “professional gripers. In a sense, their mood and temperament is not really fit for the Senate where senators have to work hard and have little time for grousing and complaining.”

TU has not and will not “stoop down to the level of cheating just to win,” Evardone said. “For the TU, not everything is about winningit is also about playing fair and square and pushing an agenda that will let Government deliver fully its promised social payback to the masa,” he added.###

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