May 10, 2010
Within the first three hours after election day opened, Southern Tagalog regional poll-watchdog Kontra Daya, Kontra Karahasan already received from poll watchers numerous reports of PCOS machine breakdowns and election irregularities in various clustered precincts around the region. This is despite the Commission on Election’s (COMELEC) assurance yesterday that polls are ready to commence in Luzon.
PCOS machine failure
As of press time, PCOS machines could not operate in polling precincts in San Pedro, Laguna; Brgy. Sucol and Brgy. Masili in Calamba City, Laguna; Nakar, Quezon; Ticub Elementary School, Laurel, Batangas; Ampid, San Mateo Rizal; and in Brgy. 4, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro. PCOS machines in Brgy. Nicholas, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro and Sitio Samilang, Brgy. San Jose Antipolo were said to have overheated after a few hours of being used.
Meanwhile, despite unusable PCOS machines in Sta. Maria Elementary School, Sto. Tomas, Batangas and Swa Elementary School, Brgy. San Lorenzo, Mauban, Quezon; voters were still ordered to vote but their ballots are to be inserted to the PCOS machines at a later time. PCOS machines also stopped working at Brgy. Mabini, Lipa City and areas in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
Barangays San Isidro, San Jose and Bagong Nayon in Antipolo City reported that there were still no machines delivered in their precincts. The machines in Pinagkawitan, Lipa and Silang, Cavite have no handheld UV scanners.
Missing master list
Voters in precincts in Brgy. Niguan, Cabuyao, Laguna as well as Kapalaran Subdivision, Row S, Brgy. San Juan, Floodway A and Brgy. San Jose in Taytay, Rizal register that their names were not found on the master list.
In Sta. Clara Batangas, 70% of the residents cannot vote because of confusion in their clustered precincts. Meanwhile, Buntog, Canlubang, Laguna voters are having a difficulty in the poll process because the Board of Election Inspectors do not practice a first come first serve basis but rather a number-calling method. Ballots in a clustered precinct in Real, Quezon were switched with another precinct.
Vote-buying and electoral fraud
A local radio reports that pre-shaded ballots discovered in Sto. Tomas and Cuta, Batangas City of Vilma Santos Recto and Mayoral Candidate Manding Maligaya were handed to local residents.
While barangay official, Melchor Olan of Brgy Marawoy Lipa City was caught buying votes at Sitio Sto. Toribio, Lipa City. Rampant vote buying was also spotted in Tayabas, Quezon. Giving of sample ballots were ceased by a police officer named Arvin Manguiat at Victoria, Laguna.
Late in the evening, Los Baños Mayoral Candidate Ton Genuino allegedly sent 33 busload full of flying voters from Makati to vote. A mass-actions of around 1000 residents led to the violent and illegal arrest of 4 militants from Kabataan Partylist and Bayan Muna and a barangay official.
Request for extension
MAKABAYAN Coalition Regional Coordinator Benjamin Villeno condemned the continued electoral fraud and violence in the region saying that the COMELEC’s overconfidence in the automated process has allowed politicians to easily manipulate the supposedly people’s democratic involvement in shaping this nation. Villeno stressed the need for voters to be vigilant more than ever to ensure that Arroyo and other powerful politicians will be prevented from staying in their rule.
Bayan Muna Partylist filed today to the COMELEC an urgent appeal “to extend voting to 11pm as the 1 hour extension is not enough considering the 4 to 5-hour”. The militant group also expressed worry that Arroyo may use the confusion and disenfranchisement as ground for “Oplan Rafael” to extend her term through failure of elections.
Rev. Ruel Garcia, Pagbabago –ST, People’s Movement for Change, spokesperson urged the COMELEC to address these problems urgently before it’s too late. “The people cannot afford a failure of elections now that we are conscious in our yearning for genuine change,” he stated.
Rev. Ruel Garcia
Pagbabago –ST Spokesperson