Next Congress should probe ‘alarming role’ of Philippines army, police in elections

May. 20, 2007

MANILA — Partylist Bayan Muna today said the 14th Congress is morally bound to
hold a full-blown congressional investigation on the Armed Forces of
the Philippines’ and Philippine National Police’s alarming role in
partisan politics, electoral fraud and violence in the 2007 elections.

“This year’s elections revealed an even bigger involvement of the AFP
and PNP in illegal campaign activities, electoral fraud and violence.
The 2004 elections was nothing compared to this,” said Bayan Muna Rep.
Teddy Casio, citing reports from the field.

“Whatever the outcome of the elections, an investigation is definitely
in order. The withholding of the Mayuga report on the 2004 elections
shows that we can not rely on the AFP or PNP to do the investigating.
It has to be Congress exercising its oversight functions,” Casio

Among the issues that Congress could look into are the following:

The systematic campaign conducted by state security forces against
the opposition and militant party list groups

The deployment of soldiers in urban poor communities and other
known bailiwicks of the opposition and militant party list groups

The ordering of AFP troops to vote straight, 12-0, in favor of
administration senatorial bets and party lists

The takeover of polling centers and/or COMELEC functions by
soldiers and police in many areas

The use of soldiers and police as armed bodyguards of politicians

The AFP’s backing and funding of the rabidly anti-Left party list
groups BANTAY and ANAD

Casio decried the fact that despite a memorandum of agreement signed
last year between the COMELEC and the Defense Department on the
non-involvement of the AFP in the elections, the fact was that the
military took on an even bigger role in the 2007 polls.

He said that in many cases, COMELEC officials connived with government
soldiers and the police to prevent watchers from the opposition and
the party list from observing the counting.

A monitoring task force formed by party lists Bayan Muna, Anakpawis,
Gabriela, Kabataan and Suara Bangsamoro reported that two Kabataan
pollwatchers have been killed in Capalonga, Camarines Norte, an
Anakpawis pollwatcher is missing in Abulog, Cagayan Valley, and two
Bayan Muna volunteers have been abducted in Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
In all incidents, government soldiers and state security forces were
the suspected perpetrators.###

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