It is increasingly becoming clear that wholesale fraud was committed in the May 14 elections. Even the international observers of the People’s International Observers Mission (PIOM) have issued strong statements against the very questionable conduct of the polls. Now the focus on Mindanao will give us the details of how it was done – show us the “smoking gun” so to speak.
The poll monitoring groups Kontra Daya (which has among its convenors ex-Vice Pres. Guingona), Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE), and Task Force Poll Watch (TFPW, formed by party-list groups) have all exposed significant cases of large-scale fraud in at least 10 provinces, many of them in Mindanao.
The figures involved run into hundreds of thousands of votes per province – 100,000 shaved against three GO senatorial candidates in the case of Zambales, and may even reach 300,000-plus in the case of Maguindanao, where reports of a 12-0 TU sweep are clear indicators of how brazen the cheating has become.
The totals may spell the difference between landslide win or total loss for candidates in the senatorial and party-list races, not to mention their impact on the composition of LGU’s and the Lower House.
The problem with Comelec, however, is that it has shown partisanship and arbitrariness from Day 1. It has not conducted investigations on its own accord. It even threatens potential witnesses by threatening to punish those who fail to substantiate reports of fraud – instead of encouraging them to come out and giving them protection and support. It isn’t for nothing that in a recent poll survey, Comelec obtained one of the lowest trust ratings among the various government agencies.
Kontra Daya has called on Comelec chairman Abalos to resign for his complicity, or else for the next Congress to impeach him, for what it described as the “questionable, tainted” character of the recent elections. Others have called for the filing of charges against election officials proven to be involved in poll fraud. We should all support these initiatives.
We must also warn against the trend of rising cases of post-election terror aimed not just against leaders of activist groups, but against political parties and candidates who are protesting their questionable loss at the polls. Let us remind ourselves that the infamous Terror Act is soon to be enforced.
A broad coalition has started the protest ball rolling. The coalition, comprising Kontra Daya, Bayan, Boses ng Masa, Laban ng Masa, Black and White Movement, UNO, and several other political movements, marched arm-in-arm last May 21 to the PICC, where the national canvassing is being held. They are calling for a much broader protest on May 30.
We call on the people and the different political forces to respond to these calls. The people do not want a repeat of the Garci scandal. In 2004, the culprits could get away with the cheating. But we should no longer allow it to happen a second time.
The “smoking gun” is staring at us again. We should no longer merely stare back at it. Not anymore, this time around. Punish the main culprits in the electoral fraud! #