The Most Outrageous Excuse by Comelec Yet

After many days of “delaying tactics” or “stalling” and ignoring the “memos for show”, the COMELEC finally thought of some stupid excuse which nobody would believe anyway. Here is the newspaper article which further explains this unbelievable and incredible excuse by Comelec…

Maguindanao poll supervisor: Namfrel volunteers got ERs
By Nash Maulana
Mindanao Bureau
Last updated 06:24pm (Mla time) 05/21/2007
COTABATO CITY — The Maguindanao provincial election supervisor insisted on Monday that the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) has gotten copies of the election returns (ERs), contrary to claims by the poll watchdog group that ERs had been withheld from their volunteers.

Father Eduardo Tanudtanud, chairman of Namfrel Maguindanao and Shariff Kabunsuan, said the “systematic withholding” of election results has “cast doubt on the integrity” of the tallied votes in the southern Philippine province.

But Maguindanao Provincial Election Supervisor Lintang Bedol, who figured in the infamous “Hello Garci” tapes, said based on reports he got from poll officers from the province’s towns, Namfrel volunteers had taken the 6th copy of the ER at the precinct level.

The “Hello Garci” tapes refer to wiretapped conversations allegedly between President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and former elections commissioner Virgilio Garcillano over efforts to rig the 2004 polls.

Bedol said those who retrieved the ERs on behalf of the Namfrel were given the 6th copy because they presented Namfrel identification cards.

Bedol said members of the board of election inspectors relied on the IDs presented.

“[Namfrel] has not provided us the list of its volunteers despite persistent request, even prior to the elections,” Bedol said, adding that they had no way to double-check the identities of those who claimed the ERs.

However, Bedol’s statements contradict those of Romy Guiamel, chairman of the Citizens’ Action for Responsible Elections (Care), an affiliate of Namfrel and the Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

Guiamel admitted that Namfrel volunteers failed to secure the 6th copy of the election returns as earlier claimed by the Comelec-accredited watchdog.

But Guiamel blamed this on a lack of coordination between volunteers and the Comelec.

Guiamel said the failure of Namfrel volunteers to secure their ER copies happened not only in Maguindanao but all over the region as well.

But Guiamel said elections indeed took place in Maguindanao. He said residents of Maguindanao trooped to their polling precincts on Election Day and cast their votes.

“Many people trooped to their precincts to cast their votes. There were elections in Maguindanao and we knew it took place because we have volunteers in the province,” he said.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and concerned individuals told the Philippine Daily Inquirer, parent company of the INQUIRER.net, that balloting did not take place in many parts of the province.

The reports surfaced when results showed that a 12-0 sweep by Team Unity in Maguindanao, with Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Singson topping the list.

Reelectionist Governor Andal Ampatuan’s slate was unopposed in all but one Maguindanao town.

Norie Unas, Ampatuan’s spokesperson, explained that there was nothing unusual in the TU sweep as bloc voting on the call of a leader was acceptable political action for Muslims in Maguindanao.

Unas said that among Muslims, the decision of the leader was highly respected.

In this case, Unas said Ampatuan supported TU senatorial candidates after conducting shura or consultation with the people.

He said the choice was respected by the voters because Ampatuan was both the governor and spiritual leader of Maguindanaoans.

Guiamel said his group was able to monitor the conduct of elections in Maguindanao, which was generally peaceful, because it fielded volunteers all over the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He said the fielding of the volunteers was in cooperation with Namfrel and PPCRV.

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