More ‘proof’ of cheating in Maguindanao bared

May. 25, 2007

MANILA, Philippines More evidence of the allegedly massive cheating in the elections in Maguindanao have surfaced, the joint poll watch of the Genuine Opposition and partylist groups said this morning.

In a statement, the Partylist-Genuine Opposition Task Force Poll Watch described the newly uncovered evidence as damning and that it proves, according to the group, that the Commission on Elections did not canvass genuine election returns in the Mindanao province, which is the bailiwick of a Gov. Andal Ampatuan, a known ally of the Arroyo administration.

The group said a Board of Election Inspector from Maguindanao, Faizal Kalantungan, signed an affidavit yesterday attesting that 190 election returns and 38 ballot boxes from Pagalungan town were not canvassed.

Kalantungan’s affidavit is the first legally binding evidence that proves that no canvassing was conducted in several towns in Maguindanao, the statement said.

It quoted Kalantungan as saying that “up to now, the authorized Comelec officer has yet to collect the election returns and the 38 ballot boxes.”

“There are still 190 ERs in the custody of BEIs, including mine, and a total of 38 ballot boxes inside the Pagalungan municipal hall that remain uncanvassed,” Kalantungans affidavit stated, according to the poll watch.

Zaynab Ampatuan, head of the poll watchs fact-finding team that went to Maguindanao to look into the alleged fraud said the 190 uncanvassed ERs contained all the votes in eight of 12 villages or barangays in Pagalungan.

“It is highly irregular that the Provincial Board of Canvassers already finished canvassing ‘votes’ in Maguindanao while the ERs remain in the custody of poll officers at the municipal level,” said Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo.

“The Maguindanao Certificate of Canvass was already submitted for canvassing to the National Board of Canvassers in PICC. But the genuine ERs reflecting the votes of the electorate were still uncanvassed, he said. This is a clear case of election sabotage, a criminal and election offense.”

Meanwhile, Anakpawis party-list Rep. Rafael Mariano said that the ERs and COCs canvassed in Sharif Aguak town were “fabricated and therefore not reflective of the Maguindanao electorate’s will.”

Ocampo and Mariano called on the Comelec to immediately declare a failure of elections in Magundanao. Opposition lawyer Sixto Brillantes and Bayan Muna general counsel Neri Colmenares would raise the issue to the National Board of Canvassers today. (

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