Philippines: Bedol merely invented stolen-COCs tale, says opposition

Jun. 14, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) said the Genuine Opposition is not
buying the claim of Maguindanao provincial election
supervisor Lintang Bedol that he could not produce the
municipal certificates of canvass (COCs), statements
of votes (SOVs) and other documents on the results of
the May 14 polls in the province because they were
stolen from his office.

Pimentel suspected that Bedol merely concocted the
tale that the COCs from the 24 towns of Maguindanao
were missing because he is afraid that the
presentation of these documents before the National
Board of Canvassers (NBCs) would show that they had
been falsified or manufactured to reflect a 12-0
victory for Team Unity senatorial candidates.

I am both amused and outraged by Bedols explanation
that the election documents were not only missing but
had also been stolen. I believe he just invented his
explanation, he said.

The minority leader asked why it is only now that
Bedol has reported that the municipal COCs to
accompany the provincial COC went missing. He said
Bedol mysteriously disappeared for several days and
ignored the summons of the NBCs to appear before it
and before the special board of canvassers created to
conduct a new tabulation for the whole province.

Pimentel said the fact that elections were held in
Maguindanao is proven by the proclamation of the
winning candidates of governor, vice governor and
members of the provincial board and congressmen of
Maguindanao and for mayors, vice-mayors and councilors
in various municipalities.

Pimentel said the only legal and logical option for
election authorities is to nullify and set aside the
fraudulent election results in Maguindanao and to
proceed with the proclamation of the last two winning
senatorial candidates.

And if there are parties or candidates who wish to
protest, then they can formally file their protest
with the Senate Electoral Tribunal, he said.

Pimentel said if a special election is held in
Maguindanao, the estimated cost of such political
exercise is from P13 to P15 million.

Noting the vague stand of Comelec Chairman Benjamin
Abalos on the issue, he urged the other Comelec
commissioners to resolve once and for all even if this
means overruling their chairman.

Chairman Abalos may be the head of Comelec but he is
not the entire Commission, he said.

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