A fact-finding mission initiated by evangelist and presidential candidate Eddie Villanueva’s Bangon Pilipinas Movement has yielded a number of documents showing proof of vote-padding in some municipalities. The documents, which will be part of the evidence being collated by the poll watchdog group Patriots – combined with earlier reports of vote-padding from a progressive party-list group and the mainstream opposition – appear to point toward a pattern of dagdag-bawas (vote shaving/padding).
By Alexander Martin Remollino
Despite the June 4 Supreme Court ruling denying the petition for a temporary restraining order to the election canvassing by Congress, election protests are expected to mount this week when watchdog Patriots and Bangon Pilipinas will reveal results of their investigation of fraud and other irregularities committed in the May 10 elections.
In particular, Bangon Pilipinas (Philippines Arise) Movement, led by evangelist and presidential candidate Eddie Villanueva, has come up with a number of documents showing cases of electoral fraud. Bulatlat.com received copies of the documents sent by the movement to the broad poll monitoring group Patriots.
Villanueva had, days after the election, announced that Bangon Pilipinas would launch a national fact-finding mission to investigate allegations of massive fraud. He had also said that his party could not accept a “bogus president” – referring to incumbent President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
The documents will be included in the evidence being collated by Patriots. The poll watchdog had been earlier accused by the Philippine National Police (PNP) of colluding with Poe’s Koalisyon ng Nagkakaisang Pilipino (KNP or Coalition of United Filipinos) in mounting “destabilization plots” against Macapagal-Arroyo by forging a scenario of fraud to be followed by calls for the president’s ouster. It was also accused of paying P200-800 ($3.57-14.29 based on a $1:P56 exchange rate) per person in exchange for joining People Power-type demonstrations.
On June 4 however PNP chief Director General Hermogenes Ebdane apologized to Patriots after the latter, through initiator Fr. Joe Dizon issued a strong statement challenging the PNP to “explain the basis of its allegations and present concrete evidence.” Patriots leaders, who met Ebdane in a closed-door meeting in Quezon City, accepted the PNP chief’s apology.
Benguet and Cavite
Among the documents from Bangon is a set of papers concerning Precinct 0019-B in Tuba, Benguet, northern Philippines. One of these is a watcher’s report showing that out of 157 registered voters, there were 127 persons who voted in Tuba. The report was noted by Hilda Lingbanan, chair of the board of election inspectors; Sylvia Pay-oc, poll clerk; and Conrado Tomilas, third member.
However, the tally sheet of votes per precinct for the same municipality shows the presidential candidates to have garnered a total of 582 votes. Of these, 72 are shown to have gone to Villanueva, 183 to Macapagal-Arroyo, 124 to Fernando Poe, 50 to Racul Roco, and 153 to Sen. Panfilo Lacson.
In Rosario town, Cavite south of Manila a certificate of canvass shows Lacson to be leading the presidential race with received 12,556 votes. The standing of the other presidentiables as reflected in the certificate of canvass are: Macapagal-Arroyo, 7,083; Poe, Jr., 11,339; Roco, 1743; and Villanueva, 1,546. The figures add up to a total of 34,267 votes.
The municipal statement of votes, however, shows that only 33,169 voters had cast their vote in Rosario.
Lacson is the first presidential aspirant to concede defeat to President Arroyo. He is reported as having abandoned plans of pursuing the Jose Pidal expose’ he came out with in a privileged speech late last year.
Bangon Pilipinas’ reports of vote-padding coincide with those of a progressive party-list group as well as those of other mainstream opposition parties.
A few days after the election, the Suara Bangsamoro (Voice of the Moro People) sent Bulatlat.com a report, based on election returns acquired by the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), showing vote-padding to have occurred in 20 precincts in the province of Lanao del Sur, southern Philippines. The report showed that in the precincts mentioned, the party-list groups got more votes than the total number of actual voters.
One of the precincts, Precinct 44-A in Pagalungan Village, Ganassi town, had only 117 registered voters, but party-list groups garnered a total of 289 votes. Of these, the pro-administration Aksyon Sambayanan (Aksa or People’s Action) got 117 votes.
Aksa repeatedly figures in these election returns as one of the party-list groups receiving a notably high number of votes, the report said.
Another precinct, Precinct 19-A in Gurden village, Tugaya town, had 135 total voters but the party-list groups got 279 votes in all, exceeding the number of actual voters by 144. The Barangay Association for National Advancement and Transparency (BANAT), which is led by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, is shown to have garnered 132 votes in the precinct.
The Elderly Citizens Party (ECP) is reported to have filed disqualification cases against winning progressive party-list groups Bayan Muna (BM or People First), Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), and Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) accusing them of being front organizations of the clandestine Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA). ECP is also linked to Gonzales whose own party, Banat, lost in the May 10 polls.
Weeks before the election, the national security aide had also accused BM of diverting congressional Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAFs) to the New People’s Army. He also charged five other progressive party-list groups of being front organizations of the CPP.
Meanwhile, KNP legal counsel Rufus Rodriguez, in a press conference last May 28, showed among other papers election returns and certificates of canvass from Tinggalan town in Kalinga, northern Philippines – the figures of which did not tally. In the election returns, Arroyo is shown to have received nine votes, but the certificates of canvass counted 249 votes in her favor – exceeding the town’s number of registered voters by 19.
Irregularities at canvassing
In related developments, irregularities have been observed in Congress where both the Senae and House of Representatives are convened to canvass votes for presidential and vice presidential race.
A number of the ballot boxes containing certificates of canvass were not padlocked as they are supposed to be, reporters observed.
Also, last June 1, controversy erupted when it was discovered that the certificate of canvass for Camarines Norte, a province in Southern Luzon some nine hours from Manila, was missing. Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen, who ran and lost for the Senate under the KNP, accused Senate President Franklin Drilon of opening the box supposed to contain the missing certificate of canvass as it was being transported from the Senate to the House.