Philippines: Fraud campaign aims to drive partylists out of Congress

May. 12, 2007

MANILA — Anakpawis Representative and political detainee said that it has to be said that the last SWS survey was highly suspicious and was possibly intended to be a means to condition the public’s mind regarding party-list elections and the beating the bloc of progressive party-lists could receive.

“Two days to the polls and there is no doubt left that we are targets of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s fraud campaign. It appears that the government wants to ensure that our party-lists will succeed in securing only one seat each, if at all. The SWS survey reflects this, and while we would like to give the SWS the benefit of the doubt, it’s quite questionable how our party-lists have lost so much ground. In any case, we aim to defy this survey, prove it wrong on Monday barring the Arroyo government’s attempts to manipulate the polls and deny us our votes,” said Beltran.

“The party-list system was twisted and manipulated this election season to serve Malacanang’s agenda against the progressive party-lists and to edge out the lawmakers vocal against the corruption and abuses of the Arroyo administration. All this has been pretty obvious, and Malacanang will inevitably be made to account for this,’ he said.

Beltran has been allowed to leave his detention room at the Philippine Heart Center so he can cast his vote for Anakpawis in Gao, Commonwealth, Quezon City. At 10 am, Beltran will be voting at precinct 1608a at the Commonwealth Elementary School. He will be accompanied by Anakpawis officials and daughter Ofelia Balleta who took her father’s place in the campaign trail.

Beltran said that it was also the height of irony that many Anakpawis officials will be unable to cast their votes because there are threats to their security and very lives. Anakpawis secretary general Cherry Clemente and deputy-secretary general Sammy Malunes are both from Bulacan, and neither of them have been unable to go home the entire campaign season because of confirmed reports of military and paramilitary men on the lookout for them. The case is also the sane for Aanakpawis vice-chairman Rafael Baylosis.

Arroyo risks ouster

“The intense political harassment and outright physical attacks the Armed Forces of the Philippines have launched against our party-lists are aimed at destroying our chances of returning to Congress and continuing our advocacy for progressive and pro-people legislation,” he said. “Our officials have been slapped with the most ludicrous and false charges, others abducted and still others killed. The effort the administration has exerted to drive us out of the parliamentary arena exposes how democracy does not exist in the country; or at least the incumbent governmenty does not uphold it.”

Finally, the activist lawmaker said that Pres. Arroyo’s already highly unpopular administration will again risk ouster if she insists on implementing her government’s plans for fraud on Monday. “No one believes that this will be a clean and honest election, and the main reason is because the incumbent administration itself has a massive record of fraud. Various proof that there’s a nationally-coordinated and Malacanang-orchestrated fraud campaign continues to come out, including the existence of prefabricated election returns favoring Team Unity. The moment another ranking Comelec official or Malacanang insider gets caught, Pres. Arroyo will be facing a tornado of protests,” he said. #

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