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Nueva Ecija: Foreign Observers See Irregularities in Canvassing

May. 15, 2007

Cheating is possible every step of the way

NUEVA ECIJA, Philippines — Rev. Larry Emery, spokesperson of the Nueva Ecija Team of the People’s International Observer mission, said the team is worried over the irregularities that it has observed in the canvassing of votes at the Guimba Municipal Hall that may show indications of possible election fraud in the area.

Emery said that it has obtained documentation showing that ballot boxes from the precincts being brought to the muncipal Comelec office of Guimba town by midnight of May 14 with unsecured padlocks. The team also observed that the procedures in place at the COMELEC made it impossible for election inspectors to secure their ballot boxes being submitted.

At 3 am, this morning only three Comelec officials were receiving the ballot boxes from more than 30 precincts. Some election inspectors had to carry their ballot boxes around without security escorts and pollwatchers. Others were asked to fill out the missing information in their reports outside the premises that further delayed the canvassing of the votes.

Documents such as election returns [ER], used and excess ballots, voters’s lists and minutes were also taken out of the ballot boxes without the presence of watchers. Furthermore, we observed that the canvassing inside the municipal hall was being done without tally boards that made it difficult for the public to monitor the canvassing.

The team expressed concern that all these cited irregularities may give opportunity for fraud that can affect the outcome of the elections in the municipality and cast doubt on the fairness in the conduct of elections in this municipality.

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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