Church-based poll watchers swarmed the convention center in Subic after a man was caught loading ballot boxes into a yellow jeep to take them to city hall.

Church-based poll watchers swarmed the convention center in Subic after a man was caught loading ballot boxes into a yellow jeep to take them to city hall.

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and Kontra-Daya (kontradaya.wordpress.com) reported Tuesday that the loading of the ballot boxes was foiled after opposition vice mayoral bet Noel Atienza caught the driver.

It said the driver admitted he was bringing the ballot boxes to City Hall for “ballot-switching.”

“As soon as word of attempt spread, church people swarmed to convention center and surrounded it to prevent fraud attempts,” Bayan said.

It said the supposed mastermind, a certain Lorenzana, allegedly linked to the Gordons, was caught inside the Convention Center and could not get out.

He was only able to get out of the Convention Center with PNP escorts, the report said.

On the other hand, local broadcast media outfits that featured opposition candidates and have tried to cover electoral fraud were taken off the air due to “power failure.” - GMANews.TV

GO’s Tamano eyeing Senate seat in 2010

Television screens are swamped with his boy-next-door appeal. After the election campaign for the May 14 midterm polls, everybody seems to know thirty-something Adel Abbas Tamano, the Genuine Opposition’s spokesman.

Will the boy-next-door enter electoral politics in 2010? “It seems like, that is what they plan for me”, said Tamano in an interview with GMANews.TV on Tuesday.

He was quick to add that “the plan” did not come from him but from “my supporters, family members and Muslim groups” who he said are “talking about” his senatorial bid in the next elections.

Tamano said people of Mindanao need to be represented in the national government. “Whether it would be me or somebody else, equitable representation is badly needed by the region,” he said.

In one of his earlier statements, Tamano, a lawyer, who also has a master of laws from the Harvard Law School said: “One of the preconditions for this nation’s full development is a stable and lasting peace in Mindanao. This cannot happen unless we have Moro representatives in the highest sectors of government, articulating Muslim concerns and interests.”

Tamano added: “This point is not a self-serving endorsement — there are many qualified Muslims — but rather an objective assessment of the current failure of the peace process in Mindanao and the obvious marginalization of Moros in higher-level policy-making.”

He finished law at the Ateneo de Manila University. He was also a scholar in both the Honors Graduate Program and Islamic Legal Studies Program of the Harvard Law School. He is a partner of the Kapunan Tamano Villadolid & Associates law office and a lecturer on Constitutional Law at the Far Eastern University and on Legal Writing at the Ateneo de Manila College of Law.

Adel, son of the late senator Mamintal Tamano, published a manual in 2004, titled Handbook on Impeachment Under the 1987 Constitution GMANews.TV

Palace: Media quick count ‘mind-conditioning, trending’

Presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio urged the National Citizens Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) to speed up its count in order to stem what it called as “mind-conditioning” and “trending” by media quick counts.

“We have not seen the real results here…If we base it on what you see on TV, it’s not acceptable to us…We would rather wait for and rely on Namfrel,” he said.

Claudio said what is coming out in the media quick counts shows only the votes from Metro Manila and Luzon, and not in the provinces where Team Unity is strong.

“[The] more accurate and fair representation of results in the provinces, such as Ilocos Sur, Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Bohol, Caraga, Misamis Occidental, ARMM, and Zamboanga Sibugay [are not yet in],” he said.

He said the administration is “disappointed” with Namfrel because it started its quick count more than 24 hours after the closing of the polls. He said the Namfrel quick count is the “most reliable.”

He said Namfrel should be mindful of the need to count the votes “with accuracy and speed” in order to “stem trending by unreliable sources,” referring to the media counts.

“We are hoping that they can speed it up and catch up with the networks…[and] takeover the quick count that’s being conducted by the networks,” he said.

Asked whether the Namfrel would show a strong performance of TU candidates, he said: “We believe so.”

He said the administration’s own quick count is “much more encouraging that what we’re seeing in quick counts.”

He said more delay in Namfrel’s counting would result in “trending” and expressed fear that once the quick count shows TU candidates’ catching up, the opposition would cry cheating.

“There is something mesmerizing about numbers flashing on screen…No matter how you explain the process…It’s mind-conditioning,” he said.

He said there is no formal action yet from the TU camp regarding the media quick count but other officials have informally communicated to the media the mind-conditioning of their counting. - GMANews.TV

Namfrel count at 5:34 pm: Legarda overtakes Escudero

As of 5:34 p.m., Opposition bet Loren Legarda has overtaken Francis “Chiz” Escudero, though with only a slight lead, in the quick count being conducted at the De La Salle University Gym in La Salle, Greenhills.

But the distribution of positions in the so-called Magic 12 remain at eight from the Genuine Opposition (GO), two from Team Unity (TU), and two from the independent bloc.

The Top 15 results:

1. Loren Legarda (GO) – 144,902
2. Francis “Chiz” Escudero (GO) – 144,744
3. Panfilo “Ping” Llacson (GO) – 128,204
4. Manny Villar (GO) – 120,523
5. Francis “Kiko Pangilinan (IND) 114,893
6. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III (GO) – 112, 146,
7. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan (IND) 100, 736
8. Antonio Trillanes IV (GO) – 97,757
9. Alan Peter Cayetano (GO) – 97,601
10. Edgardo Angara (TU) – 96,889
11. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III (GO) – 87,486
12. Joker Arroyo (TU) – 85, 511
13. Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri (TU) – 78,380
14. Ralph Recto (TU) – 76, 728
15. Prospero Pichay (TU) – 73, 294

The results were counted from returns from 2,614 precincts all over the country — not including those from the overseas absentee voting. - AMITA LEGASPI, GMANews.TV

Poll-related violence claims 17th victim in Visayas

Posted May 15, 2007 18:46:00(Mla Time)

Visayas Bureau
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The death toll from election-related violence in the Visayas hit 17 with the death of a mayoral candidate’s supporter in Iloilo town Monday evening.

The fatality was identified as Milbert Camariosa, 32, a village councilman of Igdampog, Tubungan town in Iloilo.

A still unidentified assailant shot Camariosa at around 9:25 p.m. Monday while he was watching the counting of the votes.

Based on reports reaching MBC Aksyon Radyo, Camariosa died at around 10:15 p.m. while being treated for a wound in the neck.

Camariosa is a supporter of Pelopiro Tabino, a candidate for mayor in Tubungan. He also campaigned for the Bayan Muna (People First) party-list group.

He is the only known fatality from election-related violence in Iloilo on May 14.

On Sunday night, unidentified armed men shot dead Jose Espartero, a supporter of Moises Padilla mayoral bet Ella Garcia, in Barangay Magallon Cadre in Negros Occidental.

The first election-related fatalities in the region were Tapaz Vice Mayor Victor Gardose, his bodyguard Anthony Gequillo and Caridad barangay (village) captain Leonardo Gimeno. The three died December 30, 2006 when gunmen shot them during a religious festival in Barangay Taft in Tapaz, Capiz.

Less than a month later, Mayor Benito B. Astorga of Daram, Samar died when he was shot at a village dance.

The National Bureau of Investigation in Eastern Visayas filed last May 7 a murder charge against Samar 2nd district Representative Catalino Figueroa, Daram Vice Mayor Bartolome Figueroa, Edgar Figueroa and four unidentified men for their alleged involvement in Astorga’s assassination.

On March 9, armed men fired on a barangay-owned truck in La Libertad town killing Aya barangay captain Lidio Baylon and five others.

Former police officer Buenaventura Recta, who was seeking a seat in the Kananga, Leyte town council under the Lakas-CMD, was gunned down on April 30 in front of a barangay hall.

A little over a week before Election Day, an assassin killed Sta. Fe, Bantayan mayoral candidate Rogelio Ilustrisimo Sr. shortly after he attended the hearing of a disqualification case filed against him by his opponent, Domingo Zaspa.

A few days before the polls, police filed a murder complaint against Zaspa and the suspected gunman, a policeman who has been absent without leave (AWOL) for about five years.

On May 10, an unidentified assailant shot dead a Lakas-CMD ward leader in sitio (sub-village) Lungsudaan, Barangay Asuncion, Macrohon town, Southern Leyte. The police identified the victim as Dennis Kangleon Yulo, 30, a resident of San Roque village, and reportedly a great grandson of the late senator Ruperto Kangleon of Leyte.

The next day, two supporters of mayoral candidate Norberto Raymundo Jr. (Lakas-CMD) died during a shootout between supporters of opposing camps in Libertad town in Antique. Raymundo is running against Burgos Nicopior (National People’s Coalition).

Then, a day before the elections, another shootout between supporters of opposing candidates in Capul town, Northern Samar claimed the lives of two persons.

The fatalities were identified as Timoteo Banagbanag, supporter of Liberal Party mayoral candidate Anthony Castillo and Nene Arimbay, supporters of Lakas-CMD vice mayoral bet Jeffrey Suan.

inquirer.net 

Binay leads Lapid in Makati mayoralty race

osted May 15, 2007 18:37:00(Mla Time)INQUIRER.net
MANILA, Philippines — Reelectionist Jejomar Binay of the opposition has built an early lead against his closest rival, actor and administration candidate Senator Lito Lapid, in the mayoralty race in Makati, according to the initial tally of votes by the city’s Board of Canvassers on Tuesday.

Binay has 2,275 votes to Lapid’s 302 votes while Elias Dulalia has 19, according to the canvassing of votes from 21 of 939 precincts as of 4 p.m. at the Makati Coliseum.

Meanwhile, reelectionist Makati Representative Teodoro “Teddy Boy” Locsin Jr., a close friend of Binay, is leading in the battle for a seat in Congress with 2,020 votes. Locsin’s opponent, former city councilor councilor, Oscar Ibay, has 462 votes.

It was Ibay who filed graft and corruption charges against Binay, which had resulted in his suspension by the Ombudsman.

Locsin said the present results could be attributed to the “assault in Makati City Hall” last May 5 when the Department of Interior and Local Government tried but failed to carry out the suspension order against Binay.

Locsin said he knew that the standoff would result in his and Binay’s victory but added that at the same time he felt bad because the incident “affected even Joker [Arroyo].”

Arroyo is running for senator under TEAM Unity. He is presently in the lower half of the Magic 12 based on media-sponsored quick counts.

Arroyo, also a close friend of Binay and Locsin, had served as Makati congressman.
Kate Evangelista

inquirer.net 

Eastern Samar groups complain about ERs without Comelec seal

Posted May 15, 2007 18:36:00(Mla Time)Visayas Bureau

Cyrain Cabueñas
BORONGAN, Eastern Samar, Philippines — Poll watchers and volunteers have expressed alarm over the absence of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) logo on the election returns (ERs) in almost all precincts in Eastern Samar municipalities.

After the voting closed 3 p.m. Monday, text messages and calls from hundreds of volunteers and poll watchers complaining about the ERs without the Comelec seal flooded the Borongan’s diocesan media office, the headquarters of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

PPCRV coordinator and seminarian Edmel Raagas said he noticed the plain ERs while monitoring the 90 precincts of Oras town.

“I raised the issue to the BEIs (board of election inspectors) and to the Comelec officer and the counting of votes at the precincts were momentarily stopped.”

Election officer Wenilyn Carilla of Guiuan town found the incident puzzling.

Carilla said the logo may not be so clear but it had to bear the Comelec insignia.

“I even compared the ER of 2004 with the ER of 2007 and the former has a Comelec logo while the latter has none,” she said.

MacArthur town election officer Greta Garcia observed that while ordinary envelopes from the region have Comelec seals, the ERs do not have the Comelec logo.

The problem was brought to provincial Comelec supervisor Juan Bautista.

Bautista said it could just be a printing error by the National Printing Office.

Assistant Regional Comelec Director Jose Nick Mendros confirmed Bautista’s claim.

Mendros said some ERs might have the logo while others might have none and the logo was almost invisible because it was water marked.

“Almost all the ERs in Eastern Samar have no logo and maybe in all other provinces as well but what’s important is not the absence of the logo but the presence of the serial number,” he said.

The clergy of Borongan said there was reason to be alarmed.

“The exposed Oplan Mercury Rising of Bantay Boto may have a grain of truth as well as the texts messages about sightings of ballot boxes in some municipalities weeks before the elections,” said Catholic parish priest Father Euly Belizar.

A group of retired police and military generals earlier claimed that the administration was set to stage a well-organized cheating nationwide in the May 14 elections under the so-called “Oplan Mercury Rising” to ensure the victory of the administration’s TEAM Unity senatorial slate.

Father Romeo Solidon, parish priest of Dolores town, said the municipal treasurer claimed many ERs had the Comelec logo before they were distributed to the precincts.

Comelec regional director Zacarias Zaragoza Jr. advised all concerned citizens and volunteers to jot down the serial numbers of the ERs.

“It is an abnormal situation since a Comelec logo should appear on every ER,” he said.

Eastern Samar has 23 municipalities and 1,206 precincts.

inquirer.net 

Palace concedes 12-0 sweep impossible

Posted May 15, 2007 18:32:00(Mla Time)

INQUIRER.net

Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has conceded its target of a 12-0 sweep in the senatorial race is unachievable and blamed local intramurals and the failure of political machinery in some areas.

“One of the biggest distractions within the local machinery that would have otherwise delivered a better result for TU were the intramurals,” presidential political adviser Gabriel Claudio said.

In the run-up to Monday’s polls, Claudio and TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) Unity officials said the administration’s local machinery would give them all 12 Senate seats up for grabs.

But Claudio admitted not all the local machinery delivered for Team Unity. He added they will conduct an assessment after the official results have been turned in.

“Based on our reports from the field, there are areas where we are disappointed, and there are areas that we know did their level best,” he said.

TEAM Unity spokesman Joseph “Ace” Durano said there are several factors why some local officials support candidates other that the administration’s.

He said the candidate could be the local official’s friend or have in the past contributed to a project in the municipality.

Durano said a 12-0 sweep “would be quite difficult.”

“It’s more the exception than the general rule that local leaders will carry 12-0,” he said, adding that a “reasonable expectation” would be six to eight TEAM Unity candidates making it to the Senate.

Durano cited at least four areas where Team Unity got 12-0, namely, Maguindanao, Zamboanga Sibugay, a town in Bohol, and a town in Northern Samar.

GO to Comelec: ‘Release poll papers to LP’

Posted May 15, 2007 18:14:00(Mla Time)

INQUIRER.net

Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines — The Genuine Opposition (GO) on Tuesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to release election documents to the Liberal Party (LP), the designated dominant minority party.

GO spokesman Adel Tamano issued the call following reports of election field officials refusing to honor the identification cards, appointment and authorization papers bearing the signature of Senator Franklin Drilon, LP president.

Because of this, Tamano said, GO watchers, who have been authorized by the LP, have been unable to observe the conduct of the polls.

“Given this development, GO is concerned that Comelec field officials will not release the copies of the election returns (ERs) and certificates of canvass (CoCs) to the LP’s authorized watchers as required by the law,” he said in a statement.

Tamano said they had received reports election officers have been withholding crucial election documents in Valenzuela City, the second district of Laguna, the fourth district of Batangas, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Maguindanao and the Cotabato provinces.

“Alarmingly, the list is still growing,” the GO official said.

Tamano appealed to the Comelec to immediately act on the problem, saying this might spread to other areas in the country “practically inviting cheating in a massive scale via the switching of ERs and CoCs.”

Florencio “Butch” Abad, former LP president, confirmed that until now, their headquarters in Makati City has not yet received a single CoC, delaying their own quick count of the elections.

Garcillano admits defeat in Bukidnon congressional race

Posted May 15, 2007 14:18:00(Mla Time)Associated Press

Jim Gomez
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) Former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano, who was at the center of a vote-rigging scandal that threatened President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s tenure, has conceded defeat in the congressional race in the province of Bukidnon.

Garcillano, who ran for the House of Representatives, said he did not crave power and only decided to use the campaign to air his side on allegations that he rigged the 2004 election for Arroyo.

All 236 House seats, half of the 24-member Senate and nearly 17,500 local positions were at stake Monday. With votes tediously counted by hand, results may be weeks away, but many candidates got a glimpse of possible results from their poll watchers.

In a live interview on television, Garcillano said he gave up the fight against Malou Acosta, sister of incumbent Congressman Nereus Acosta, as early as Monday night.

“I was already sure that I’m going to lose and I already conceded defeat,” Garcillano told ABS-CBN television.

“I have not been craving for this position,” he said. “I just thought that I will have a good chance of at least facing my accusers in a fair and square discussion.”

An initial vote count showed Garcillano, an independent, trailing two opponents seeking to represent a district in his southern home province of Bukidnon, regional elections official Lordino Salvana said, adding the vote count could be completed in a few days.

Garcillano was saddened by what he called propaganda that his opponents heaped on him, including the distribution of fake currency bearing his image, ABS-CBN said.

Garcillano shot to infamy two years ago when compact discs emerged containing purported phone calls between him and Arroyo discussing how to ensure a million-vote victory margin for her in the 2004 presidential election. The CDs spread fast and became known as the “Hello Garci” tapes, referring to how Arroyo purportedly addressed him in the conversation. Garcillano used the moniker “Garci” in the campaign.

The ensuing scandal prompted several Cabinet members and key political allies, including former president Corazon Aquino, to break away from Arroyo and demand her resignation. It also triggered two congressional impeachment bids and a coup plot, all of which Arroyo survived.

Arroyo and Garcillano separately denied any wrongdoing but have refused to answer the allegations in detail. Arroyo apologized for talking to an election official in a nationwide TV address, but denied doing anything to rig the polls. She did not elaborate. With a report from INQUIRER.ne

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