Pimentel says pressure may have led to Sarmiento resignation

May. 29, 2007

MANILA — Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today expressed regret over the
resignation of Commissioner Rene Sarmiento as head of
the Commission on Elections task force that will
investigate poll fraud in Maguindanao.

Pimentel voiced suspicion that Sarmiento was compelled
to resign due to intense pressure from certain
powerful forces that are making it difficult to
conduct an honest-to-goodness probe of the rampant
anomalies in the Maguindanao elections that gave Team
Unity a 12-0 victory in the senatorial derby in the

Sarmientos resignation as head of Task Force
Maguindanao proves the blatancy of the cheating
perpetuated by the administration at the expense of
clean and honest elections, the minority leader said.

There is no reason for his resignation but the
pressure from cheaters, abetted by government figures
so great he couldnt live with it with clear

Pimentel reminded the Comelec that the nation expects
nothing less than a no-nonsense inquiry into the
massive dagdag-bawas operations in Maguindanao in the
wake of testimonies by witnesses, including members of
boards of election inspectors, that no actual voting
occurred in many towns, ballots were filled a day
before the May 14 elections, and election returns were
fabricated with the knowledge and participation of
election supervisors.

He said the investigation will allow witnesses to
prove allegations of electoral fraud that may lead to
the unmasking of personalities who should be held
accountable for gross violation of election laws and
for trampling upon the peoples sacrosanct right of

The outcome of the investigation will help the Comelec
determine whether there is sufficient basis for the
oppositions move to void the election results in
Maguindanao and hold an entirely new voting.

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