Monday, May 28, 2007

Namfrel chief doubts health made Sarmiento quit

The head of the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said he was disappointed over the decision of elections Commissioner Rene Sarmiento to leave the task force investigating Maguindanao votes that were all allegedly given to senatorial candidates of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Sarmiento, commissioner-in-charge of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, quit as head of task force on Monday.

The commissioner said in resignation letter that his involvement in the May 26 special elections in the 13 municipalities in Lanao del Sur, particularly supervising and monitoring the pre-election preparations, election proper and post elections has taken a toll" on his health.

Namfrel Chairman Edward Go, however doubted Sarmiento’s reason for leaving the task force. “I saw him in Lanao, he looked okay. Maybe the situation he witnessed in (Mindanao) was too much for him to bear," he said.

Go said Namfrel officials and representatives from other election watchdogs will meet on Tuesday morning to assess the ongoing election processes—including Sarmiento’s decision to resign. - Fidel Jimenez, GMANews.TV