Philippines: Another rally set next week vs election fraud

May. 27, 2007

MANILA — The anti-fraud group Kontra Daya today warned that the inclusion in the national canvassing of questionable votes from Maguindanao and other fraud tainted provinces will further incite protest actions against the Comelec.

Another protest action is set on Wednesday next week at the Philippine International Convention Center where the national canvassing is being held. Last weeks rally drew a mixed crowd of opposition figures, militant groups and concerned citizens. Organizers estimate the rally to have peaked at around 3,000.

There is already clear evidence that the elections in Maguindanao were rigged. The uncounted election returns and the highly improbable zero turn out for the opposition are the surest signs of election irregularities in the area. In the face of this glaring proof, canvassing of these votes will only demolish the credibility of the elections, said Kontra Daya convenor Fr. Joe Dizon.

Last week, progressive partlyist groups produced affidavits and evidence showing that election returns from Pagalungan town in Maguindanao were not canvassed thereby raising questions on the 12-0 administration sweep that was reported by the Comelec. Opposition lawyers also discovered the highly improbable zero votes for the opposition in some areas in Maguinandao.

The Comelec must exclude Maguindanao and proclaim the first batch of winners to end suspicion that the poll body is trying to give fraud operators time to change the results of the elections, Dizon said.

We have to put pressure on the Comelec and protest the continued attempts to subvert the peoples vote. That is what the rally is about, he added.

Not so peaceful in Lanao

Kontra Daya was also cautious in accepting the assessment of Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento that the special elections in Lanao were generally peaceful.

Commissioner Sarmientos assessment is too generous. Is he basing his report on what the military and police are saying or on what the Lanao people are experiencing?

Media reported several incidents of violence before and during the special polls in Lanao.

Kontra Daya sent a team to observe the Lanao special elections. The initial report of the team will be released next week.

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