Militarization ensures fraud, not honest elections in Mindanao

May. 22, 2007

By Zaynab Ampatuan
Suara Bangsamoro

The people of Mindanao deserve a peaceful and clean election. But the massive cheating happening now is as rampant as the violence that is transpiring in the most vote-rich island in the country.

Prior to the May 14 elections, military troops were deployed in the urban communities in Metro Manila where a bulk number of the volunteers of progressive party list such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela, and Anakpawis.

While urban and campus militarization were taking place in Luzon, massive troop deployments were employed in Mindanao, particularly in the province of Sulu, attacking legitimate camps of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). These series of attacks resulted in the forcible displacement of 50,000 individuals from eight municipalities.

Moreover, these attacks do not only undermine the peace agreement between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the MNLF, it worsens the situation in the area.

But this is no news. Intensified militarization aims to disrupt the political stability in the area and divide the people of Sulu. In this way, the coming elections will be under the control of the military, which serves a desperate administration that has no other way to win the elections but through fraudulent means.

It is also important to note how top officials of the AFP were dragged in the Hello Garci scandal in 2004, implying the participation of military men in the electoral fraud.

Their objective is clear ensure the implementation of the systematic and organized fraud and violence planned by none other than the government.

Suara believes that this massive and systematic electoral fraud and violence is not only happening in Sulu. The contested result of 12-0 in favor of the administration bets in Maguindanao is one significant manifestation of fraud in one of the vote-rich areas in Mindanao, the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in favor of the administration.

The recent expose of a teacher who served as a Board of Election Inspector in one of the precincts in Maguindanao only proves the administration’s dirty schemes.

In almost all areas in ARMM rampant fraud and violence is happening.

Based on the NAMFREL Count in six municipalities of Shariff Kabunsuan Province (SKP) namely Matanog, Parang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Buldon, Northern Kabuntalan and North Upi – Kiram got 38, 629 votes, Montano 29, 889, Legarda 29, 771, Escudero 28, 707, Angara 26, 788, Lacson 24, 653, Trillanes 23, 891, Honasan 23, 648, Zubiri 22, 510, Arroyo 21, 535, Aquino 19, 924, Pichay 19, 956. In the partylist race, Suara leads with 12,487 followed by Alif with 7,199.

However, the latest statement of Governor Bimbo Sinsuat declaring a possibility of a 12-0 outcome in the province of SKP is far from possible. The Genuine Opposition should consider this as a serious threat — such statement was similar to previous declarations prior to the 12-0 result in Maguindanao.

We also fear that the votes for Suara Bangsamoro would be affected in Shariff Kabunsuan Province, as well as in Maguindanao. Almost all municipalities in these provinces serve as stronghold areas of Suara Bangsamoro. In the previous 2004 elections, Suara Bangsamoro even gained a leading position for party list in the province.

The failure of election in 13 towns of Lanao del Sur is another proof. The COMELEC could have prevented such incident had they learned their lessons from the previous elections.

The Commission on Election should not play dumb and inutile on these matters. We strongly believe that there is a need for a speedy investigation before the people totally lose hope and confidence in this rotting electoral process.

Suara Bangsamoro Party-list supports the call of the MNLF to declare a failure of election in Sulu to pave the way for a credible and peaceful election, away from the control of the military.

We also demand that the security of the teacher and other witnesses who will be courageous enough to expose the manipulations of the 2007 election be ensured.

Suara calls on all Mindanaoans to unite and expose the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who continues to bastardize our democracy. We must fail her efforts to ensure her stay in power. (

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