BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
ELECTION WATCH / BREAKING NEWS
May 14, 2007 – 1:58pm
The Moro human rights group Kawagib disclosed that election returns are being sold in Mindanao for P40,000-60,000 ($847.82-1,271.72 based on a $1:P47.18 exchange rate as of May 11) a set. Kawagib secretary-general Sittie Sundang revealed this as she reacted to the comment by a foreign observer that the elections in the island appear to be over.
“Mindanao is not only an arena for violent partisan conflicts, but is also the venue for massive electoral fraud,” Sundang said in a text message to Bulatlat.
Mindanao is one of the country’s vote-rich areas, with a total of 10.8 million registered voters based on data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Hadji Abdullah Dalidig, who heads the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) in Lanao del Sur, told reporters on Saturday that many Comelec officials who perpetrated the alleged fraud in the 2004 elections were still around. “And they were never sanctioned for what they’d done,” Dalidig said.
Dalidig said he received information that negotiations were under way for dagdag-bawas (vote-padding and vote-shaving) to favor three senatorial candidates belonging to the administration’s Team Unity. He said he had information that “participating Comelec personnel” would be paid P20 ($0.42) for every vote added to the three administration candidates.
Vote-buying is also rampant in Mindanao, Dalidig said. He said there are offers of as much as P300 ($6.36) for a gubernatorial vote in Mindanao.
“This is a breach of the democratic essence of elections and is a continuing form of oppression against the Moro people whose right to suffrage is being stolen,” Sundang said. (Bulatlat.com)