Friday, May 18, 2007

2 Namfrel volunteers reported missing in Maguindanao are safe

Two volunteers of the National Movement for Free Elections who were earlier reported missingi n Maguindanao have been confirmed safe, Namfrel chairman Edward Go said Saturday.

Shiela Algabre and Joseph Fernandez, who were supposed to get Election Returns (ERs) have not communicated with their coordinator for Maguindanao, identified as a certain Fr. Tanod-tanod, since after the May 14 polls but they are confirmed out of danger.

"I spoke personally with the one of our coordinators in Maguindanao and while they said that they at the time they have previously spoken to us that they were not in touch with the volunteers, they (volunteers) are confirmed safe,"Go told reporters at a press conference.

But, Go said, the volunteers have not been able to obtain any ERs from Maguindanao because they were barred at the tabulating center.

"We have no ERs so we don’t know what ballots had been cast we cannot testify to the conduct of the elections and its results," said Go.

Lawyer Howard Calleja of the Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) said trying to press the volunteers in obtaining ERs would compromise their safety.

"Among everything, what isimportant is we keep the safety of our volunteers. They are residents of the area, they would still be there after the elections. More than results, we are concerned for their security," said Calleja.

Posted by : Thea Alberto at Namfrel HQ, in La Salle Greenhills