Pimentel warns of ‘electoral disaster’ if Maguindanao votes are counted

Jun. 25, 2007

MANILA– Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today called on the Commission on
Elections to prevent another electoral catastrophe and
to seize the opportunity to redeem its impaired
reputation by deciding once and for all to exclude the
senatorial votes from Mindanao for being tainted with
fraud and being devoid of any semblance of truth and

Pimentel said it would be a travesty of law and
justice if the Maguindanao votes are tallied by the
Comelec, as national board of canvassers, in the face
flagrant violations of election laws and rules,
exposed by the vigilant media, which enabled fraud
operators to fabricate election returns, municipal and
provincial certificate of canvass and statement of
vote to make it appear that Team Unity senatorial
candidates scored a 12-0 victory while 19 mostly
opposition candidates were credited with an
unbelievable zero vote.

The moves of the Comelec would further destabilize
the nation, he said.

In the face of the unlawful and perverted acts to
manipulate the outcome of the senatorial election and
trample upon the peoples right of suffrage, no
right-thinking election officials will allow the
tabulation of the tainted votes from Maguindanao and
agree to the administrations faulty reasoning that
the exclusion will disenfranchise voters from the
province, Pimentel said.

He said the argument that the exclusion of the
Maguindanao votes will disenfranchise Maguindanao
voters does not carry weight because the 13th placer
in the senatorial race, TUs Juan Miguel Zubiri, can
still bring his case to the Senate Electoral Tribunal.

In the light of the aforecited grave irregularities,
Pimentel said it is appalling that Comelec
Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer has declared the COC from
22 municipalities of Maguindanao as authentic.

He said that more than a month after the May 14
election and during the disappearance of these
documents for weeks, its highly probable that they
have been tampered with.

Pimentel noted that Ferrers observation was in sharp
contrast to the assertion of GO lawyer Leila de Lima
that the municipal COCs presented to the Comelecs
Task Force Maguindanao were newly manufactured as
the signatures of election officials in the documents
were in the same handwriting.

He said the conflicting statements and queer behavior
of provincial election supervisor Lintang Bedol
further lend credence to allegation that massive scam
marred the Maguindanao elections. Bedol has
disappeared for the second time, according to Comelec.

Bedols disappearance adds another mystery to the
baffling Comelec ruling on the authenticity of the
Maguindanao COCs, initially declared by him to have
been missing but were subsequently reported by him as
stolen. These are the COCs that Commissioner Ferrer
has deceptively placed under lock and key as if by
doing so, the COCs now have Gods own authenticity,
Pimentel said.

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