MP folks protest electoral fraud
By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BONTOC, Mountain Province — Some 500 marched to the streets of Bontoc with placards denouncing the violations and malpractices done during the campaign period and the day of the 2010 elections.
Mostly supporters of the three losing congressional candidates, members of the Katribu partylist and Makabayan Coalition, the protesters trooped to the Bontoc municipal hall and held a short program where representatives of each group and individuals spoke of their complaints on the massive electoral fraud and irregularities in the province.
Dimaz Daweg of the Makabayan cited the black propaganda allegedly spearheaded by members of the Armed Forces of The Philippines against the progressive partylists under the said coalition.
Daweg said there are AFP sponsored fora, film showings with power-point presentations and community meetings wherein AFP speakers blatantly maligned progressive partylists like Katribu, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, ACT Teachers and Akap Bata.
Daweg said these AFP personnel outrightly described the said partylists as close allies of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
He said there were massive distribution of flyers and posters against progressives. Daweg also noted the presence and the encampment of military in areas where there are Katribu members and there are reports of military abuses and terrorism.
Daweg also cited the conscious campaign of the AFP against the Makabayan senatorial bets and Nacionalista Party guest candidates Satur Ocampo and Lisa Masa.
Cordillera-Mountain Province Secretary General Loreta Batay-an Yocogan condemned the use of government funds against progressive partylists and candidates and for the advancement of political interests of traditional politicians and for massive vote-buying.
“Masapul a mapasardeng a dagus ti panag-usar kadagiti paltog ken paksiyaten ti agrugrugi a warlordismo tapno saan da nga agbalin a kasla Ampatuan ditoy probinsiya tayo” (The use of guns and the emerging warlordism should be stopped immediately so that these politicians will not be like the Ampatuans in the province), Yocogan said.
The protesters also condemned the immediate release of men associated to Governor and Congressman-elect Maximo Dalog who were arrested earlier for violation of the total gun ban during the election period.
According to Thomas “Champag” Killip through a letter to his supporters and friends, several high powered firearms were confiscated from a group of men in Paracelis, one is licensed to the name of Dalog. Killlip said two of those arrested were sons of the governor.
The group also complained of irregularities in the conduct of the automated election system. They said there are long lines of voters who have to wait for over 3 hours to vote. According to them, there are also cases like in barangay Kin-iway in the municipality of Besao where voters have to wait for seven hours in line to vote.
They also said there are Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines that malfunctioned like in Bangaan, Sagada. The two spare machines were not also used as they too malfunctioned.
In Paracelis, the group said, there are PCOS machines that were hammered and burned by some men. There were also cases where there were machines in several barangays in all municipalities of the province that failed to transmit the election results.
Killip stated that a culture of violence because of selfish political reasons and interests should not be allowed to develop in the province.
“Such a development is anti-social, anti-community, and will subvert our high level of democratic norms and practices that we have observed in our societies op here since the birth of our republic,” Killip added.
Killip further stated that the covenant for supposedly a peaceful, clean and honest elections which he and fellow candidates signed on March 10 in the presence of officers form the AFP, Philippine National Police (PNP), Commission on Elections (Comelec) officials and church people was simply for show.
Killip said the governor has much to explain for the alleged use of government funds in the guise of programs to gain political advantage, the massive vote-buying and the introduction of the use of guns into the political arena in the province.
Killip said Dalog and his supporters should not abuse their position and powers because the governor is still a minority by choice and therefore cannot fully claim to represent the true sentiments of the people of Mt. Province.
Along with Killip who went with the protesters are fellow Congressional candidates Franklin Oddsey and Jupiter Dominguez who registered the same complaints.
According to Killip, only 1/3 of the 65,000 voters who cast their votes voted for Dalog. “You can say part of these votes were acquired through means not legitimate. What kind of representation then do we have?” asked Killip.
The protesters said the fight for a real, clean and honest governance is not yet over as they will remain vigilant.#nordis.net