Lumibao, Palparan presence in Lanao scored

May. 25, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan questioned the presence of retired generals Arturo Lumibao and Jovito Palparan in the special elections to be held in Lanao del Sur tomorrow.

Lumibao presented himself as a domestic observer who will evaluate the security preparations of the Comelec. Palparan also claimed he was an observer though he is running as a nominee of the partylist Bantay.

The presence of the two generals does little to boost the credibility of the elections in the province. People are already apprehensive that fraud will take place in the special elections. Having these two Arroyo loyalists in the area boosts the peoples suspicion that something fishy is about to happen, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

How can these two bring credibility to the polls? Lumibao was mentioned in the Garcillano tapes as being sent to Mindanao in 2004 to fix things there. Palparan on the other hand is a known human rights violator loyal to Arroyo. He is also running under a partylist that is supported by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as news reports have shown, Reyes said.

Reyes also said that instead of special elections, the people of Lanao will be treated to special operations in favor of Team Unity. “Their claims that they are going to merely observe the elections strains credulity. Who are they kidding?”

Bayan also expressed concern that the troops being brought in to secure the elections may end up scaring the people and preventing them from voting.

If people are scared and do not vote, then there is a lot of room for election operators to do their magic. Election operators work well under conditions of instability. The AFP presence and the Comelec incompetence provide these conditions, Reyes said.

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