Election fraud in Philippines provokes demonstrations

May. 23, 2007

MANILA — As thousands gathered in front of the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) where the national canvassing of votes is being done, the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan warned of more protest actions in the coming weeks as delays and anomalies in the canvassing of votes raise more questions as to the credibility of the recent polls.

The people have spoken and they have resoundingly rejected the Arroyo regime and its puppets. The voting trend clearly indicates a strong protest vote. The Arroyo regime wants to downplay the peoples rejection by geting more of its Senate bets in, said Bayan chair Carol Araullo.

Instead of accepting the peoples vote, the desperate Arroyo regime wants to subvert the peoples vote yet again. The 12-0 sweep of Maguindanao and other areas is barefaced election fraud and is an insult to the intelligence of the people, Araullo said.

Araullo also said that both the Comelec and the Arroyo regime were to blame for the fraud-tainted 2007 elections. Arroyo had the resources and motive while the Comelec maintained the conditions for fraud.

Various concerned citizens including stalwarts of the anti-Arroyo movement joined the protest actions. Vice president Teofisto Guingona, Jr and the anti-fraud watch group Kontra Daya were among the many participants. Groups aligned with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the progressive partylist block were also present.

Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr said that the Comelec is hard-pressed to make the elections appear credible in spite of the widespread evidence of fraud. This he said is only being done in the face of mounting complaints and protests against the trend of fraud favoring the Arroyo administration.

“Fraud and and terror have been trademarks of the 2007 elections. The Comelec and the president cannot erase this fact. The cheaters in the Comelec and the military have joined forces to rig the polls and subvert the people’s vote. The 2007 elections are coming to be every bit as worse as 2004,” Reyes said.

The Comelec is trying to do some damage control to make it appear that the poll body is not condoning the obvious wholesale fraud. It has created a task force for Maguindanao and has suspended the national canvassing of some provinces. But these are not enough to salvage the credibility of the elections. The 12-0 sweep is simply too much and too obvious, Reyes said.

Groups assembled at the Star City complex inside the Cultural Center of the Philippines before marching to the PICC. More mass actions are expected as the canvassing reveals more cases of fraud.

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