etta-rosales.jpgON the eve of elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), civil-society political and electoral reform advocates have expressed grave concern regarding the conduct and outcome of the exercise. The elections, after all, are coming at a time when the integrity and credibility of the electoral process and the Commission on Elections are under a “dark cloud of suspicion” in light of the “Hello Garci” tapes and the revelations from the recent testimonies of the “La Vista” witnesses.

“The point of no return has been reached in relation to the people’s negative perception of the present Comelec. This has already compromised the credibility of the electoral process and dangerously weakened the very foundation of our post-Marcos democracy,” claims Akbayan party-list Rep. Loretta Ann Rosales, president of the board of trustees of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform (IPER).

Five ARMM provinces — Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao — figured prominently in the conversations between Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. The tapes also provide details of how the region was key to the president’s winning margin of 1.1 million over opposition candidate Ferando Poe Jr.

Last week, Michaelangelo “Louie” Zuce, Garcillano’s nephew and a Malacañang political operative during the May 2004 elections, has alleged the president’s complicity in election fraud, accusing the Office of the President with directly bribing and getting the cooperation of elections officials in Mindanao to ensure Arroyo’s victory.

Monday’s elections will also be seriously handicapped by the boycott announced by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), candidates withdrawing in protest, and signs of potential violence and fraud. There’s also the widespread belief that Malacañang is supporting a candidate, despite official pronouncements that the region is a “free zone” among the Lakas-led ruling coalition.

In a privilege speech last Tuesday at the House, Rosales likewise raised the issue of the presence in Monday’s elections of the same Comelec officials allegedly implicated in the wiretapped conversations, in particular Renato “Boy” Magbutay (ARMM Comelec director), Ray Sumalipao (ARMM assistant regional director), and Atty. Lintang Bedol (provincial election supervisor for Maguindanao). Police director-general Arturo Lomibao, who was also mentioned a couple of times in the tapes, is also back on active duty in the ARMM polls.

In response, Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr., in a letter written by laywer Alvond Saldevar, cited Resolution No. 7512 which designates commissioners-in-charge (CICs) and their respective support staff for each of the five ARMM provinces for purposes of the elections. Saldevar also explained that the presence of the said poll officials in their respective offices is “intended only to guarantee the continued efficent functioning in the area.” Continued Saldevar:

Their functions shall be purely administrative in nature, that is, to attend to day-to-day concerns of those directly involved in the electoral process. They will not participate in the conduct of the polls, except only to provide when so requested, relevant information on the peace and order situation…which the commissioners-in-charge and their suport staff may not be very familiar with.

“But that’s the most that the Comelec can offer,” says Rosales. “Beyond that, the cloud of doubt remains.”

ramon-casiple.jpg Ramon Casiple, IPER executive director, says that these same people are still the ones doing the work, only this time there’s supposed to be a buddy system where people from outside ARMM are brought in to coordinate with them. “Actually, the problem here is not whether they are doing the work or not. That is not the important thing. It is the fact that they are still in the area and their presence means they can still do whatever they have been doing before,” he says.

Besides, the entire electoral exercise, Rosales believes, is intended politically to bolster the plummeting image of the Arroyo administration. At the same time, she says the elections are a way to consolidate the administration’s forces at the local government level in order to ensure continued support for her, and to address and diffuse the ongoing impeachment process and the calls for her resignation.

IPER is thus reiterating its appeal to the sense of patriotism of the poll commissioners to “immediately tender their resignations and submit themselves to the processes of an independent commission.” The group is proposing that Congress immediately create the commission to be composed of political and electoral experts with unimpeachable integrity that will undertake a thorough review of the issues against the Comelec, and recommend appropriate reform measures.

In a statement, IPER has also outlined specific measures to save the institution of Philipine democratic elections and initiate thoroughgoing reforms of the electoral and political system that can be done within the present constitutional framework:

  • abolition of the commissioner-in-charge system and strengthening of Comelec as a collegial body;
  • ensuring the integrity of the Comelec by eliminating partisan links and influence within the institution;
  • professionalization of the staff personnel, increase of staff salaries and renumeration, and establishment of standard operation procedures within the organization of the Comelec; and
  • developing a body of jurisprudence for electoral protest cases, a electoral database storage and access system, and the capability for research, training and education.

26 Responses to Tainted integrity and credibility of Comelec, electoral system cast serious doubts on ARMM polls

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carmel

August 7th, 2005 at 5:32 pm

i pity the ARMM. they are getting screwed the second time around by gma’s COMELEC — shows how insincere the gov’t has been to the people of mindanao.

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oscar

August 7th, 2005 at 6:00 pm

Abalos is a poker face,he dosnt deserved to be a comelec chairman
in the first place.he only support candidate that is loyal to GMA,hope he still have conscience in what his doing.
the last time I saw him was in his granddaughter`s burial,I thought to myself,pray and hope that this fellow who cries unashamely like Rep Joe de Venicia when the later cries during the burial of his daushter,that they will be true to themselves and really give service to our country and to the filipino people.
today,this two Abalos and de Venicia,have not change.they are so evil and no conscience left in their heart,they are animals of high pedigree.

oscar

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ka erning

August 7th, 2005 at 6:42 pm

Why conduct the ARMM election when the will of the people be again bastardized. Just canvass the COMELEC prepared election results and do the proclamation. No need to spend the people’s money!

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benign0

August 7th, 2005 at 6:56 pm

Hmmm. The Comelec has been the object of ridicule and suspicion from time immemorial. For this Rosales lady to say that “The point of no return has been reached in relation to the people’s negative perception of the present Comelec” to be frank sounds so quaint already. So many obvious things stare Pinoys in the face everyday, yet one hardly sees any form of outrage — at least until polticians’ spin machines start going into high gear and inciting hollow-headed “outrage”.

If we truly are an “outraged” people then how come so many of our old criminals are still galivanting around town living it up?

The following article highlights the issue of how hollow-headed our outrage truly is and how our ciminal politicians always come back with the last laugh:
http://www.geocities.com/benign0/4-00_Leaders/despots.html

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joe

August 7th, 2005 at 7:14 pm

SINO ANG MANINIWALA SA BULOK NA TULAD NG COMELEC? AT ANG MGA MILITAR NA GINAGAMIT NG MGA POLITIKO! BULLS__T!!!!TAMA NA ANG CHAIN OF COMMAND NA YAN ! PANAHON NA UPANG ANG DIKTA NG BUDHI ANG DAPAT SUNDIN MALAMANG MATUTUWA PA ANG DIYOS!!!AMEN!!!

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Inday_D_Mighty

August 7th, 2005 at 7:33 pm

galit daw ang mamamayan sa takbo ng gov’t. ni gma pero wala namang ginagawa ang mga tao. does it mean to say na manhid na ang mga pinoy?

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doctorT

August 7th, 2005 at 9:23 pm

OO

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KaBlog

August 7th, 2005 at 9:44 pm

HINDI MANHID ANG PINOY. MAHAPDI NA ANG SIKMURA! Hindi na masikmura ang mga nangyayari sa gobyerno, hindi na matiis ng sikmura ang gutom dahil sa walang patid na pagtaas ng bilihin. Kaya ang ginagawa ng tao ay naghahanap ng pagkakabuhayan, mabuti man o masama, yan ang resulta ng gutom. Uunahin pa ng taong gutom ang problemahin ang sistema ng gobyerno? Hindi di ba? Libangan na lang ng mga pinoy ang mga napapanood natin sa TV at nababasa sa dyaryo. Aba eh daig pa ang telenovela ang pulitika natin, mahirap hulaan kung ano ang susunod na kabanata. Kakampi ngayon tapos bukas babaliktad, merong aalis tapos babalik para maghasik ng lagim, merong tao dyan na deny-to-death pero halata namang sinungaling, di ba nakakatuwa kasi ang dami-daming karakter na lumalabas?

Tulad ni Sen. Leon Guerrero, aba feeling abogado pero saksakan ng bobo pati kakamping dwende eh inilaglag, hahaha.

Saksakan ng dami ng mga BULAANG PROPETA sa Pilipinas hayyyyyyyy!

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joe

August 7th, 2005 at 9:57 pm

ka blog hindi po bobo si sen lito lapid! wag mo naman laitin ang kapos sa salapi noong araw kaya di nakapag aral, marahil ikaw ay tapos ng college kaya ganyan ka magsalita pero tingnan mo si leon guerrero senador na kahit di nakatapos ng pagaaral samantala ang iba jan matalino man daw magnanakaw naman pagnakaupo na sa puwesto! pero ayaw ko din naman sa mga kakampi nya sa ngayon ngunit para sa akin magaling syang lider dahil sa kanyang malinis na puso!

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eyesWIDEopen

August 7th, 2005 at 10:24 pm

sabi nga ni Jesus:

“Pues bien, nada hay oculto que no haya de ser manifestado, ni escondido que no haya de salir a luz.”

“Ito ay sapagkat ang anumang natatago ay mahahayag at ang mga bagay na nangyari sa lihim ay maibubunyag”

kaya hintay hintay lang tayo… matatapos din ang kabanatang eto.

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masha

August 7th, 2005 at 11:28 pm

sen lapid? di bobo? malinis ang puso? is this a joke?

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Alecks Pabico

August 8th, 2005 at 12:07 am

eyesWIDEopen,

I didn’t realize Jesus was also facile in Spanish? :-)

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eyesWIDEopen

August 8th, 2005 at 12:24 am

Alecks Pabico said, eyesWIDEopen,

I didn’t realize Jesus was also facile in Spanish?
———————–

:) just tracing the FILIPINO history as everybody else keeps on tracking history in the blogs. hahahha.

BTW i have an officemate who previously work with PCIJ. i have asked her to buy me a copy of the ireport CD. (I’ll pay her of course).

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benign0

August 8th, 2005 at 7:25 am

In an article on Cyberdyaryo it is mentioned that “A rotten political system exists because citizens have allowed it to fester and decay all these years either through neglect or indifference.”

See this article here:
http://www.cyberdyaryo.com/commentary/c2005_0805_01.htm

Kaya wag na kayong magtututuro ng mga daliri diyan. Ultimately the biggest chumps around here are Filipinos — allowing the system and even the society itself to rot at its core and then suddenly proclaiming “indignation” at the 11th hour.

Now THAT is pakitang-taoism. 😀

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lethal_pointofview

August 8th, 2005 at 9:58 am

ARMM….it should be dis-ARMM…

Look what Gov Misuari did to the land full of promise…Corruption still exist even to the most remote Barangays…where crocodiles,alligators and some serpents hide in those areas…

COMELEC should be destroyed literally…

All the officials are corrupt…they dont have an independent mind to govern…

All are milking…Just imagine Comelec wasnt able to have a clean election last 2004 (National Election) how much more in the ARMM…Pweehh…

RESIGN ALL for all the commissioners…

REVAMP COMELEC NOW

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djuara

August 8th, 2005 at 9:59 am

information received last july was for comelec provincial supervisors from the visayas and luzon, were to assist in the armm pols i tried to convince a election officer if i she could help facilitate my being included as one of those to be sent to assist in the armm pols she couldve helped if i insisted but i did not when another comelec official stated that” whats the use of your going to mindanao when the election results is a done deal”…. if these statement is true then what else is new with our comelec…

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INSIDE PCIJ: Stories behind our stories » The Comelec’s fall from grace

August 8th, 2005 at 11:25 am

[…] IF today’s elections in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) labor under serious doubts and suspicions, the Commission on Elections, the constitutionally ordained guardian of the ballot, is mostly to blame.  When the taped conversations between Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano were made public, providing clues of the rigging that attended the May 2004 elections with the help of Comelec field personnel, public opinion has been split into only two extreme calls, the mass resignation of its commissioners and the poll body’s total abolition. […]

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P.N. Abinales

August 8th, 2005 at 1:18 pm

HI Folks, here is what the indefatigable Fr. Jun Mercado shared with us Mindanawans once he landed in Cotabato yesterday (Sunday) after suffering yet another 2-hour PAL delayed flight in Manila. These reflections he got while talking to various military, political and — egad — COMELEC commissioners at the PAL terminal’s Delifrance.

He promises more observations once he settles down to watch the ARMM electoral circus…

——
ARMM Elections Isue No. 1

1. Maguindanao:
Total Nos. of Baranggays: 481
Total Nos. Established Precinct: 2,610
Total Nos. of clustered Precincts: 1,271
Total Nos. of Registered voters: 362, 887

Questions:
1. How many of the registered voters are genuine?

Ans, No one knows!!! In this elections, COMELEC will use the same
discredited register of voters.

2. How many of the registered voters will actually cast their ballots?

Ans. 10,000 or 362,887… does it really matter… on this side of the
Republic? The ballot boxes will be arriving from the 28 Municipalities to the designated schools in Cotabato City… the ballots were either filled up by actual voters or by few… who can tell? This is a sphere of either “faith” or simply a “number game”. My sympathy goes to our helpless BEI’s… Tsk,,, Tsk…Tsk…

3. COMELEC, AFP, PNP and PPCRV may ensure peaceful elections… but can they really guarantee credible, honest and clean elections… in the
ARMM?

Jun Mercado, OMI
General Service of Justice, Peace & Inegrity of Elections
Rome, Italy

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azul

August 9th, 2005 at 10:19 am

Abalos was appointed Chairman of Comelec by GMA because he has mastered the art of “dagdag bawas” in Mandaluyong. And De Venecia, who knows how much “kurakot” from the kaban ng bayan when he ran for President. These two should do some reflecting on what had just happened to their families. These people are numb to the bone and definitely have no conscience. Should I say KARMA….

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ejam

August 10th, 2005 at 6:27 pm

HA ha hA HA. MASHA’S comment is funny because it’s true. hehehe

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joe

August 10th, 2005 at 7:08 pm

mga guys wala namang perpekto na tao sa mundo at hindi naman ako kampi kay sen. lapid pero malaki ang naitulong nya sa pampanga kaya mahal sya ng tao doon, hindi naman kabobohan ang hindi pagkatapos ng pag aaral eh, yun nga mga lolat lolo natin ang karamihan di naman nakatapos ng pag aaral pero hindi tayo papayag na tawagin silang mga BOBO, kaya para kay MASHA AT EJAM JUST COMPARE URSELF TO SEN LAPID AND HIS ATTAINMENT MAAARING LAMANG KAYO PERO SA MGA NARATING AT NAGAWA NYA 100% panalo sya!

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christianjohn

August 11th, 2005 at 3:10 pm

lets not rush our conclusions

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tambuli

August 12th, 2005 at 3:06 pm

kawawa naman mga pinoy, sila na nga niloloko and inaapi, kasalanan pa nila, tsk tsk tsk

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Roger

August 13th, 2005 at 8:29 am

Ang tanong, mga taga-administration lang ba ang gumamit sa nagpapagamit na mga taga COMELEC?

It appears both sides cheated in the 2004 elections. Both sides also approached these COMELEC officials.

Di kaya itong mga taga COMELEC are reflections natin lahat na mga Filipino.

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datu_lakandiwa

August 15th, 2005 at 4:41 pm

sen lapid? di bobo? malinis ang puso? is this a joke?

ako tatawa sa joke mo!!!

bwahahahahaha

di ba sen. lapid, kay GMA galing ang perang ibinigay sa mga comelec officials na inimbitahan nya sa bahay nya at di galing kay Mrs. Pineda????

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LCsiao

August 15th, 2005 at 5:09 pm

Di bobo si Lito Lapid dahil di siya nagtapos ng kanyang pag-aaral.

BOBO lang talaga siya. Period.

Kagaya ng amo niyang pandak sa saksakan din ng BOBA (kahit na nagtapos pa ito ng kung anu-anong degree).

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