Kontra Daya report: Comelec, Arroyo complicit in election fraud

May. 21, 2007

Kontra Daya congratulates the Filipino people for their continuing vigilance against poll fraud, election violence and other anomalies. This report would not have been possible were it not for the vigilance of ordinary people who acted as Kontra Daya volunteers, sent us their texts and emails or called the Kontra Daya hotline.

We also congratulate the various peoples organizations, the vigilant media, the election watchdogs and international observers and other allied groups for their efforts in monitoring the conduct of the Philippine elections. The elections this year saw the rise of a more vigilant and conscious people who would not allow a repeat of the fraud-tainted 2004 polls.

Kontra Dayas preliminary post election report is based on the groups own documentation, field date from the Task Force Poll Watch, reports from the Peoples International Observers Mission, correspondence with other watchdog groups such as Namfrel, Alliance of Concerned Teachers as well as media reports.

The fight against election fraud and violence is by no means over. Kontra Daya expects more incidents of wholesale vote rigging to emerge in the following days. The dark forces trying to subvert the peoples will are working overtime. The peoples vigilance and collective action are needed now more than ever.

General Conduct

In our initial statement immediately after the May 14 elections, we said that Election Day was a picture of chaos and confusion and that Filipinos could not freely and properly exercise their right to suffrage.

From the evening of May 13 up to the morning of May 14, Kontra Daya received reports of vote buying of various types. Aside from reports of cash being handed out to voters, there were also cases where groceries and even gasoline were being used to buy votes. Vote buying was widespread.

The worst forms of vote buying and bribery came from the pronouncements of government officials who offered monetary rewards of future favors to local officials in exchange for an administration senatorial sweep. We have to remember these pronouncements because in the counting and canvassing, the highly improbable (or near impossible) 12-0 Team Unity sweep would manifest itself in several regions.

Aside from reports of vote buying, Kontra Daya received various reports of voter disenfranchisement. The complaints of disenfranchisement often bore with it utter frustration and outrage over the inability of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to ensure that registered voters are able to vote in the correct precincts.

Entire families were being deprived of their right to vote because their precincts were allegedly being transferred or they were being deactivated from the list for allegedly failing to vote in previous elections. To date, there has been no satisfactory explanation from the COMELEC as to the disenfranchisement of voters (which some estimate may reach up to a 100,000 voters).

In our dialogue with the COMELEC as early as February 27, we already called on the poll body to release the voters list and precinct assignments early enough. Chairman Benjamin Abalos promised that the list would be released by March but this was not done.

Kontra Daya also belies the claim of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the COMELEC that the elections were generally peaceful and orderly. Such an assessment seems oblivious to the fact that the police themselves have tallied at least 143 election-related killings, since January 2007, in the run up to the elections. We suspect there to be more. We expect that the trend of violence will continue well into the canvassing stage of the elections.

Kontra Daya notes in particular the type of violence that resulted in the death of a teacher and a poll watcher in Taysan, Batangas; witnesses point to elements of the PNP as responsible for burning the ballot boxes and the polling center itself, causing the death of the victims. We also note the abduction and murder of two young poll watchers from the party list group Kabataan in Camarines Norte, and the enforced disappearance of two other poll watchers from Bayan Muna in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. These are just some examples of the election terror that is taking place with alarming frequency.

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