MANILA, Philippines — Foreign observers from the Peoples International Observers Mission (Peoples’ IOM) yesterday were shocked at the conduct of a powerful Presidential appointee and father of two local candidates inside Makati’s polling precincts.
At around 4:30 p.m. of Election Day, just an hour into the counting of ballots at PEMBO Elementary School in Makati, Euphraim Genuino, president of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) and father of Makati electoral candidates Win and Ton Genuino, was seen entering into the classroom-turned-polling-precincts of the school.
Euphraim is the father of two local administration candidates in Makati, namely, Win Genuino, currently running for congressman in the second district of Makati, and Ton Genuino, running for councilor in the first district. They are both running against the camp of incumbent mayor and opposition leader Jojo Binay.
After paying a visit to the school’s principal, Dr. Teresita V. Arriola, the PAGCOR president entered precincts at the ground floor of the school. He entered with two bodyguards, who were reported to have had obvious bulges at the side of their waists, suggesting arms.
Delegates of the People’s IOM reported the manner in which Mr. Genuino proceeded into the classrooms. “He looked really arrogant, strutting around, with bodyguards, and apparently with arms. He looked like a little dictator,” remarks Freda Guttman, a Canadian foreign delegate of the People’s IOM.
Wataru Arizumi, the team’s Japanese delegate, adds, “I felt that he was forcing himself, coercing the counting of votes.”
The presidential appointee was said to have asked questions from the election volunteers, such as the parties or candidates they were working for.
When the People’s IOM team informed Dr. Arriola that Mr. Genuino’s bodyguards were possibly armed, she admitted that this was a clear violation. She said she had not known about it.
Mr. Genuino and his group may have committed electoral violations against three laws: candidates are not allowed to enter voting precincts except to vote; no individual may bring arms within the precincts; and no individual may enter precincts to disturb the proceedings of the electoral board.
Ms. Guttman concludes, “Knowing what a powerful man he is (Euphraim Genuino) and his closeness to President Arroyo, I was appalled because I thought it would be extremely intimidating. The overall effect of a man of such power was rather shocking.”
The Peoples’ IOM was convened by civic-minded and concerned Filipinos in cooperation with electoral watchdogs such as Kontra Daya, the PPCRV, Teachers’ Hotline of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Lawyers’ Monitoring Groups. It has twenty-five foreign delegates from Canada, USA, Japan, Myanmar, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, Norway, Belgium, Germany and Scotland. Other teams are in Makati and Tondo in Metro Manila, Quezon Province in the Southern Tagalog region, and Marawi City in Lanao del Sur. #
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