Thursday, May 17, 2007

Namfrel can't locate volunteers in Maguindanao

The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) can't find its volunteers in Maguindanao, the province that gave a 12-0 sweep in favor of the administration's Team Unity senatorial ticket, the poll watchdog's chairman Edward Go said Friday.

Go said during a press briefing that they still don't know if the Namfrel volunteers assigned to get the election returns from Maguindanao are missing or in danger.

The Namfrel is accredited by the Commission on Elections to do a quick-count of votes cast in the May 14 polls and is supposed to get the sixth copy of election returns.

The Maguindanao senatorial vote was topped by Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson, who has placed in the 20s in other vote counts.

No candidate from the Genuine Opposition, other non-administration parties or those running as independents made it to the Top 12 in Muslim-dominated Maguindanao, which has 336,000 registered voters.

The 13th placer was GO bet Francis "Chiz" Escudero, who tallied less than half the votes as the TU 12th placer and lone Muslim candidate Sultan Jamalul Kiram.

A top Comelec official earlier said it is considering to look into the reported irregularities that marred the voting in Maguindanao province where the administration's Team Unity bets swept all its opponents in the senatorial race.

"This is the first time I've heard of this so we will have to look at it," Commissioner Rene Sarmiento told reporters during a break in Thursday's canvassing at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC).

Based on the Maguindanao tally, not a single opposition senatorial bet made it to the winning circle, receiving low votes in the province's 27 towns. The province has a total of 336,000 registered voters.-GMANews.TV