Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Namfrel to file protest against alleged Comelec lawyer

The National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) is condemning the arrest of one of their district chairpersons in Caloocan City early Tuesday by a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, led by a woman identifying herself as a lawyer for the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Namfrel will file a letter of complaint to the Comelec for the wrongful detention of Namfrel Caloocan District Chair Jom Curio by a certain Melanie Malaya, who identified herself as a Comelec lawyer.

Namfrel National Chair Edward Go also said they will be requesting the Philippine National Police and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to administer the fullest force of the law against Malaya.

“We don’t want this incident to happen again to any of our volunteers who are just doing their job,” Go said.

Narrating his experience during the latest Namfrel press conference, Curio said that the arrest happened around 2 a.m. while he was retrieving a third batch of the sixth copy of the election returns (ER).

Malaya insisted that Curio was not entitled to obtain the ERs, despite showing all identification cards and accreditation letters. Curio said he was later led to a detention room near the polling precinct. Malaya broke down during his narration, arguing that he was illegally detained while doing his job.

Curio said he was released after an hour but held his ground near in Caloocan to continue his duties. He added that four to five ERs taken from him disappeared, along with Malaya.

Posted by : Alex Villafania at the Namfrel HQ in La Salle Greenhills