Canvassing of Maguindanao votes expected today, groups warn of massive protests

May. 30, 2007

MANILA — Canvassing the votes from Maguindanao will spark more protests and will deal the final blow to the credibility of the elections.

This was the warning aired by the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today as hundreds of its members and supporters gathered in the morning in front of the Philippine International Convention Center, where the national canvassing is being held, to protest alleged election fraud.

The Commission on Elections en banc is expected to canvass votes coming from Maguindanao and North Cotabato today, along with other Mindanao provinces.

Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr. said that the Mindandao fraud operations by the administration were a desperate attempt to change the outcome of the 2007 polls. At the same time, Bayan challenged the Opposition to join peoples protests in the light of incidents of fraud.

We join all opposition groups and election watchdogs in condemning the massive electoral fraud orchestrated to benefit the administration slate. We must not allow the administration to succeed in its final push to rig the elections through the canvassing of votes in Maguindanao and other questionable regions, Reyes said.

We are already on the brink of a Garci-like crisis. Canvassing Maguindanao would deal the final blow to the credibility of the 2007 polls. More protests will certainly follow, Reyes said.

Maguindanao delivered a 12-0 sweep for the administration senatorial slate amid allegations that no real elections actually took place in the province. Witnesses on election fraud and tampering of eliciting documents have already come forward.

We call on the opposition senatorial candidates, especially those who have already secured a safe lead, to join various citizens initiatives against election fraud. The anti-Arroyo senatorial candidates were voted by the people because of their opposition stance. They are expected to be at the forefront of the protests against Arroyos fraud, Reyes said.

Today’s protest is the third since the National Board of Canvassers convened for the senatorial and partylist election results. (

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