Saturday, April 28, 2007

Machinery for Cheating in ARMM Being Laid Out - Dalidig

Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, the Namfrel officer in Lanao del Sur who testified before the Senate in 2005 about the manipulation of election results in his province during the May 2004 elections said that the very same machinery and practices are being put into place in preparation for the May 2007 elections.

In the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), flying voters are paid P200 each ($4.21 at an exchange rate of $1=P47.46) to register in as many precincts as possible, Hadji Abdullah Dalidig said in an interview with Bulatlat.

Dalidig is the controversial Namfrel (National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections) officer in Lanao del Sur who testified before the Senate in 2005 about the manipulation of election results in his province during the May 2004 presidential elections. In his testimony before the Senate, Dalidig said the May 2004 presidential elections was the “dirtiest” of all five elections he has monitored in Lanao del Sur.

Daligdig said that these newly-recruited flying voters would augment the flying voters who registered for the May 2004 elections but “have not been deleted” from the official list of registered voters. Records from the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) shows there are 100,000 more registered voters for the 2007 elections than in 2004 in Lanao del Sur.

Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, ex-Namfrel official and Lanao del Sur poll fraud whistleblower

“I doubt that the May 2007 elections will be credible,” the Namfrel officer said. Dalidig will again serve as Namfrel officer in Lanao del Sur for the coming elections. The COMELEC approved the petition of Namfrel to conduct a quick count of the results of the May 2007 elections.

Lanao del Sur is one of the five provinces of the ARMM together with Basilan, Maguindanao, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

As of April 28, 2004, the number of registered voters in ARMM is 1,057,458. Lanao del Sur registered the second highest number of registered voters (275,572) from among the five ARMM provinces.

Vote buying

Vote buying is also rampant in ARMM, Dalidig said.

In fact, he said a powerful political clan in ARMM, which is aligned with the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration has allegedly sworn to give each mayor a cash incentive of P1 million ($21,070) each if Team Unity, the administration’s senatorial slate, wins 12-0 in their respective municipalities.

Another source, whose name is withheld for security reasons, said the same powerful clan is allegedly Macapagal-Arroyo’s “cheating operator in ARMM.” The clan has allegedly received P60 million ($1,264,222) from three wealthy senatorial bets of the administration to ensure their win in the region. The said clan has also allegedly received P200 million ($4,214,075) from the administration to ensure a 12-0 win for Team Unity, the source said.

To ensure the “grand plan” for cheating in the May 2007 elections in ARMM, the source said, a member of the clan will be appointed as the seventh COMELEC commissioner just before the May 2007 elections. The new appointee will replace Virgilio Garcillano or “Garci,” the COMELEC official caught on tape talking with Macapagal –Arroyo in the infamous “Hello, Garci” scandal. In the said tape, the president was allegedly overheard asking Garcillano to make sure she leads by one million votes over her rival, actor Fernando Poe Jr., in the May 2004 presidential elections. Bulatlat

Treasurers’ reshuffle set in NCR

Soldiers start casting their ballots in advance voting Reshuffle of Metro Manila treasurers okayed by DoF


The Department of Finance (DoF) has approved the recommendation of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the Philippine Election Forum (PEF) to reshuffle all the city and municipal treasurers in Metro Manila to spare them from possible political pressure from candidates in the May 14 elections.

In a speech during the Namfrel General Assembly at the Traders Hotel in Pasay City, Dr. Vic Endriga, head of the Philippine Association of Local Treasurers and Assessors (PHALTRA), said teachers with poll duties in the May 14 elections will be given their allowance when they get the ballot boxes.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has already approved the release of funds, Endriga said.

"Now with the proposal of Namfrel to reshuffle all treasurers nationwide, we would like to announce that partially, it is already being done," Endriga told Namfrel members, representatives of government agencies, and other volunteers in ensuring the conduct of clean, honest, and peaceful elections.

"All of the treasurers from the National Capital Region will be reshuffled," Endriga said. The treasurers in cities and municipalities officially receive election paraphernalia including ballots and ballot boxes from the Comelec, and are duty-bound to do safekeeping work on the ballots and election returns for the poll body.

Among those present in the gathering were Comelec Commisioner Resurreccion Borra, Namfrel national chairman Edward Go, Namfrel founding chairman Jose S. Concepcion Jr., Namfrel national co-chairman Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, and Philippine National Police National Task Force HOPE (Honest, Orderly and Peaceful Elections) head Deputy Director General Antonio Billiones.

Endriga, city treasurer of Quezon City, said that he already received notice that he will be re-assigned to Makati City.

The city and municipal treasurers had been deputized by the Comelec to prepare election materials and paraphernalia for distribution to polling precincts.

While still waiting for Comelec approval of the reshuffle, municipal and city treasurers in Metro Manila have began preparing for their transfers, Endriga said.

He said that the Namfrel, through the PEF, had earlier recommended the reshuffle of city and municipal treasurers in different parts of the country 15 days before Election Day to prevent them from being influenced by political candidates.

The Namfrel and the PEF recommended to the Comelec that the city and municipal treasurers stay in their post 15 days more after Election Day.

Endriga expressed optimism that the reshuffle of treasurers will not only be implemented in Metro Manila, but also in other parts of the country to ensure clean and fair elections this year.

On the early release of allowances for teachers with poll duties, Endriga said: "This is very good news. For the first time in the history of elections, the teachers will immediately get their allowances on the day they get the ballot boxes."

Under the new scheme, 50 percent of the total R3,000 election allowance, or R1,500, will be given to the teachers on the first day they assume their poll duties and the balance of R 1,500 will be paid immediately when they return the ballot boxes.

Aside from the timely pay of election allowances, Endriga said the teachers will also receive R300 transportation allowance.

During previous elections, government was swarmed with complaints from public school teachers about the delay in the release of the allowance for poll duties, some complaining they got their allowances four months after the elections.

900 soldiers expected to vote in local absentee voting

The six-day local "absentee voting" for Philippine Army personnel started yesterday in Fort Bonifacio to allow the soldiers to provide support to the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the May 14 elections without depriving them of their right to vote.

Lt. Col. Ernesto Torres, Philippine Army spokesman, said about 900 Army soldiers who applied for "absentee voting" privileges were expected at polling places inside Fort Bonifacio.

Torres said that another round of absentee voting will be conducted for Army soldiers from May 4 to May 6.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has allowed "absentee voting" for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who are expected to be assigned to far- flung areas to ensure the conduct of honest, orderly, and peaceful May 14 elections.

The Comelec is also authorized to order the deployment of troops in critical areas where private armed groups, communist insurgents, secessionist rebels, and terrorist elements might disrupt the electoral process.

"The AFP would continue to review and assess the situation to determine if there is a need to maintain, increase, or reduce the deployment of troops in some areas," Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr., AFP chief of staff, said.

The deployment of soldiers in critical areas considered by Comelec as "areas of immediate concern" will depend on the recommendation of the PNP.

"We thank all those who are with us in advocating for educated voters. However, we shall give priority to Comelec-ordered deployments, especially where there will be a serious armed threat or violence due to intense political rivalry," Esperon said.

In a telephone interview, Torres said that the absentee voting was being watched by representatives of the Comelec in Fort Bonifacio.

He said that top Army officers had ealier instructed Army commanders "to encourage their subordinates to take part in the absentee voting in anticipation of possible election duties as required by the Comelec on Election Day and after." (Aris R. Ilagan)

Low turnout seen on first day of local absentee voting


The six-day local absentee or advance voting for 39,580 military, police and government employees who have poll duties on May 14 was off to a smooth start yesterday but yielded a relatively low turnout, the Commission on Elections said.

The low turnout was reported even in areas where thousands had applied to vote in advance such as Region 9 (Western Mindanao), Region 11 (Northern Mindanao), Region 5 (Bicol), Region 4A (Southern Tagalog), and Region 8 (Eastern Visayas).

Records at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Committee on Local Absentee Voting headed by Commissioner Florentino A. Tuason Jr. showed that of the 6,704 in Western Mindanao who applied to vote in advance, 5,162 have been approved, while of the 6,997 applicants in Northern Mindanao, 4,624 have been approved.

The other regions with high number of applicants approved for local absentee voting but yielded a low turnout on the first day are Bicol with 3,795 advance voters, Southern Tagalog 4A with 3,775, and Eastern Visayas with 3,704.

The other regions and their corresponding number of local absentee voters are National Capital Region (NCR), 2,054; Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), 396; Ilocos, 523; Cagayan Valley, 1,786; Central Luzon, 2,085; Southern Tagalog-B, 1,305; Western Visayas, 2,359; Central Visayas, 833; Southern Mindanao, 1,291; Central Mindanao, 2,673; Caraga, 1,050; and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), 2,027.

Members of the Committee on Local Absentee Voting are confident the turnout out will improve in the next five days.

Tuason said those who applied for advance voting but have not yet voted could do so today and on April 30, and May 4, 5 and 6.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Namfrel appeals Concepcion removal from roster

MANILA, Philippines -- The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has asked the Commission on Elections to re-examine its decision to accredit the poll watchdog on condition its former chairman, Jose Concepcion, be removed from the organization.

In its manifestation submitted April 19, a copy of which was obtained by, Namfrel argued against the legality of requiring Concepcion's removal, calling it "arbitrary and discriminatory."

Concepcion's removal from the organization was based on his being chairman of Barangay (village) Forbes in Makati City.

But Namrel lawyer Jose Bernas said the laws cited by Comelec only prohibit barangay officials from being appointed as members of boards of election inspectors (BEIs) or poll watchers of any political party.

The Comelec condition for Namfrel's accreditation was based on a Resolution 7798, which was derived from Executive Order (EO) 94 issued by former president Corazon Aquino on December 17, 1986.

"This directive imposed a prohibition on the appointment of barangay officials as members of BEIs or as official watcher of each duly registered major political party or any socio-civic, religious, professional or any similar organization," the Namfrel manifestation said.

It also stressed that EO 94 applied only to the February 2, 1987 plebiscite.

The Namfrel manifestation also argued that the prohibitions contained in the EO 94 are clear.

"The chairman of Namfrel is not and will not be appointed as a member or the BEI or as a poll watcher of any political party. Accordingly, the prohibition under Executive Order 94 does not apply to him," it added.

"Clearly, Comelec Resolution 7798 was not based on law and is therefore arbitrary and discriminatory. Neither can a Comelec resolution supplant nor go beyond the mandates of a law for the simple reason that Comelec has no lawmaking powers," it said.

It argued that the Namfrel chairman does not stay in the precincts, as he only oversees the overall conduct of quick count.

"Thus there is no danger of the Namfrel chairman interfering in the proceedings of the BEIs, whether as a member thereof or as a poll watcher. Moreover, as chairman of Barangay Forbes, the Namfrel chairman cannot be presumed to have such 'influence' over all electoral precincts nationwide," it said.

Meanwhile, Namfrel also announced in a separate manifestation to the Comelec that it had agreed to work with the National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (NASSA). Both groups entered into an agreement on April 18.

Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez agreed to remain co-chairman of Namfrel. (

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Catholic Church arm to help Namfrel do quick-count

The Catholic Church will help poll watchdog National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) conduct its “quick count" for the May 14 polls.

Namfrel Chairman Edward Go said under a deal he signed on April 18 with Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez, director of the Church’s National Secretariat for Social Action, Justice and Peace (Nassa), seeks to combine their manpower to quickly produce the elections' unofficial results.

Nassa, social arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), earlier unsuccessfully vied to do the quick count.

"There are regions in the country where (one of either of our groups) has a better presence. There are also areas where we jointly manage. We want to use the best of both
organizations. We want to (cover all the gaps)," said Go.

Go replaced businessman Jose Concepcion as Namfrel chairman on April 13 after the Comelec made his resignation a prerequisite for the poll watchdog’s accreditation as quick count arm.

The Comelec noted that Concepcion is not allowed to head a citizens arm because he is an elected official, being village chairman of posh Barangay Forbes Park in Makati City.

In April 2, the Comelec voted 4-2 in favor of Namfrel doing the quick-count, effectively junking NASSA’s separate application. -GMANews.TV