MANILA, Philippines — Team Unity is filing over 100 cases of electoral fraud in opposition bailiwicks in Metro Manila and elsewhere where the Genuine Opposition (GO) ticket had supposedly won big, and will ask the Commission on Elections to exclude or re-canvass the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) in these areas, TU official said yesterday.
Unlike GO stalwarts who have been relentlessly hyping up charges of supposedly massive poll cheating based only on unfounded allegations or statements by “phantom witnesses,” TU campaign manager Reli German and its deputy spokesperson Tonypet Albano said in a press briefing that their cases are airtight, well-documented and supported by “real witnesses” and material evidence gathered by their legal teams over the past two weeks since Election Day.
“Mukhang talamak ang nangyaring pandaraya sa mga lugar kung saan lamang sila,” Albano said.
These cases include alleged fraud in opposition bailiwicks like Makati, Pasay and Navotas, and will be filed by the TU legal team headed by lawyer Romulo Macalintal, he said in an afternoon news conference at the TU headquarters in Manila.
“We waited for two weeks, carefully documenting these cases of election irregularities and gathering all the facts that we need to have airtight cases,” Albano said. “What we have done is very much unlike what the opposition has been doing, which is to continuously make sweeping and baseless allegation of election cheating on the basis of affidavits, which can easily be manufactured, and testimonies of phantom witnesses.”
“Hindi kagaya sa kabila (GO) na puro na lang nagawa na wala namang basehan kundi ang mga mamerang witnesses at affidavits, kami sa Team Unity ay masusing nangalap ng mga ebidensiya bago kami nagsasalita sa media,” German said.
Albano said the TU legal team is now finalizing their protests covering more than a hundred areas that are controlled by GO-allied local officials, and “we will ask the Comelec to either exclude the COCs in these areas that have yet to be canvassed or re-canvass those that were already tallied by the poll body in these areas.”
German said that GO has engaged in what he described as the “Witness Production Program” of raising make-believe charges of electoral fraud in areas where TU candidates are winning, but to keep mum about other areas where their candidates have won or are winning under apparently questionable circumstances.
“They made allegations that there was cheating in areas where we made 12-0, saying that this is statistically impossible but what about those in areas such as Navotas where they made 12-0?” German stressed.
German and Albano also cautioned GO for making irresponsible and sweeping statements that seem to portray the people of Mindanao as election cheaters on the mere basis of alleged fraud in a few areas in Mindanao.
Albano said that while there were isolated cases of possible election irregularities, it was unfair and irresponsible for GO and its allied groups to brand the entire Mindanao as a place for election cheaters. “No wonder I just got a text telling me that Mindanao should now assert itself as a separate State because we refuse to count their votes,” he said.
He and German said this kind of negative branding, especially for Filipino-Muslims, is one of the serious irritants that has been fanning unrest in some areas of Mindanao.
Albano noted, for one, that charges of massive fraud in Maguindanao on the mere testimony of one alleged teacher who could just be a phantom whistleblower, flies in the face of GO amid the move by over 3,000 teachers to hold a rally in the capital to dismiss such unfounded charges and attest to the clean and orderly conduct of the balloting in that province.
Earlier, Eastern Samar Gov. and Team Unity media director Ben Evardone said GO and their leftist and ultra-rightist allies have been raising charges of imaginary fraud in pro-TU provinces as a form of mind-conditioning, in pursuit of their insidious agenda to destabilize the Arroyo administration after the national canvassing, on the pretext of protesting allegedly massive cheating.
He had said that GO and its extremist partners are obviously in panic because at least six TU senatorial bets are likely to barge into the winners’ list with the arrival of COCs from pro-administration strongholds, hence their desperate bid to pressure the Comelec into excluding these COCs from the tally or declaring a failure of elections in these areas.
Aside from reelectionist senators Edgardo Angara and Joker Arroyo, Rep. Miguel Zubiri has also entered the Magic 12 in last weekend’s official count. Three more TU bets are within striking distance?Sen. Ralph Recto, ex-presidential chief of staff Mike Defensor and Rep. Prospero Pichay?and are expected to move into the win column with the canvassing of the remaining COCs, most of which are pro-administration strongholds.###