Philippines: TU twits GO, allies

May. 25, 2007

MANILA — The Genuine Opposition (GO) and its allied leftist and ultra-rightist groups are torpedoing the election results in the Maguindanao and Lanao provinces through manufactured stories of poll fraud in a frantic and desperate effort to prevent the entry of more Team Unity candidates into the list of senatorial winners, Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone said yesterday.

Evardone, who is TU media director, said this opposition-orchestrated effort to exclude the votes of Maguindanao and other Mindanao bailiwicks of the pro-administration senatorial candidates is part of a grand design by GO and its allies to thwart the will of the voters in the said areas, in partnership with professional ” gripers and fault-finders” masquerading as poll watchdogs.

GO has tapped Mindanao-based opposition personalities such as spokesman Adel Tamano and the father-and-son tandem of Senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. and senatorial bet Aquilino III, to incessantly attack the so-called fraud in these areas to gain media mileage and discredit the election results in the said areas, Evardone said.

Tamano and the Pimentels have been employing “tortured reasoning and voodoo logic” to prop up their ridiculous charges of cheating in these areas, which, the governor said, “possibly form part of the opposition’s grand design to launch anti-government destabilization moves once the national canvassing is over, on the excuse of protesting massive poll cheating as allegedly borne out by the inclusion of more TU bets in the final tally.”

“The entry of the votes from Maguindanao and other Mindanao bailiwicks of the TU into the official count is really scary for the GO because at least three of their senatorial candidates at the tail-end of the count are sure to move out of the Magic 12 in favor of TU candidates now about to enter the winning column, he said.

Evardone called on the Comelec to just ignore the carping of the GO and tally the votes from the administration bailiwick. “The Comelec should give credence to the 3,000 teachers who served well in Maguindanao and attested to the clean and orderly balloting there, and just ignore the polluted stories on so-called fraud from just one alleged whistleblower and supposed electoral watchdogs with questionable motives,” he said.

He said that Tamano’s statement that TU candidate Luis “Chavit” Singson , who topped the Maguindanao elections, could not have been No. 1 there without wholesale cheating was “flawed, sly and malicious.”

Tamano had said in a GO statement that Singson couldn’t have topped the Maguindanao elections without rigging the results because he was not able to perform just as well in the Ilocos region outside of his Ilocos Sur home province.

“This is just like saying that Aquilino Pimentel III, who was beaten to a pulp in a past mayoral race in Cagayan de Oro City, cannot be a serious national candidate because he was unwanted in his own city,” he said.

The elder Pimentel, who has continuously attacked the results in Maguindanao, is motivated by selfish interest, he said, because his son is one of the GO candidates about to be eased out of the winning 12, once the votes from Maguindanao, the Lanao provinces, and other pro-TU provinces and cities are tallied by the Comelec.

He said that TU remained very confident that votes yet to be tallied from several areas in Mindanao will spell defeat for several candidates of the GO and “a definitive, unquestionable victory for several pro-administration candidates now within striking distance of the Magic 12.”

Right now, TU candidates Miguel Zubiri, Ralph Recto, Prospero Pichay and Michael Defensor occupy the 13th to 16th slots in the Comelec tally, and votes from Mindanao and elsewhere are expected to move them into the winning column in the final count, he added.##

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