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Philippines: Bayan sees strong protest vote vs. Arroyo in national poll results

May. 16, 2007

MANILA — The umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan today observed that the results of the national polls were clearly indicative of a protest vote, of a strong disgust for the Arroyo administration.

Opposition candidates for senator were leading the senate race as of today, with at most only four administration bets getting in the magic 12. Progressive and anti-Arroyo partylist groups have also made a strong show in their own race for congressional seats.

The protest vote against the Arroyo administration is a positive thing. It shows that people have not forgotten the Garci scandal, the corruption and the political killings under this regime. It shows the mood of the people is still anti-Arroyo, said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

The 12-0 dreams of the administration have been shattered. The much touted command votes of local leaders have been shown as nothing but hot air, Reyes said.

Bayan said that the protest vote may be the only small relief in an election tainted with numerous irregularities, chaos, violence and allegations of fraud.

We find some comfort in the initial results but we have to protest the overall conduct of the elections. The nature of the polls has not changed. There was vote-buying, intimidation, disenfranchisement and failure of elections reported in many areas, Reyes pointed out.

The question that begs to be asked is can this protest vote be protected down the homestretch of the canvassing. There is still the serious concern that the Arroyo regime will not simply accept the results of the polls and that massive fraud is already in the works, Reyes said.

Bayan has worked with such anti-fraud groups as Kontra Daya and the International Observers Mission in monitoring the conduct of the recent elections.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was THE issue in these elections. She was the main obstacle encountered by her senate slate. The Arroyo regime has no moral choice now but to accept this stinging defeat at the hands of the people, Reyes said.

Attempts to rig the polls will surely be met with widespread indignation from a broad array of political forces. Massive and shameless fraud would be political suicide for this regime, the Bayan leader warned.

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