[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 21 May 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Mon May 21 13:00:34 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 21 May 2007 Morning

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



Teacher details poll cheating in province (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- It happened in the dead of night, hours before the polling precincts opened.

With armed guards supposedly watching over them, they were forced to fill blank ballots with the names of Team Unity senatorial candidates, starting with Luis "Chavit" Singson and Prospero Pichay.

Students and other children loitering in the school premises were purportedly even asked to mark the ballots with their thumbprints and sign their names on the voters' list.

This was how the "election" took place at least in some areas of Maguindanao -- at least based on the account of a female public school teacher in the province.

The anonymous teacher talked to Lente, the legal arm of the watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), Lente convenor Carlos Medina said at a press conference Sunday.

Hand in hand with the teacher's allegation, the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) accused Commission on Elections (Comelec) officers in Maguindanao of withholding copies of provincial election returns from Namfrel volunteers.

Namfrel secretary general Eric Alvia said the delay in the turnover of the ERs rendered suspect the authenticity of whatever documents would be given Namfrel in the future.

Namfrel chair Edward Go said Maguindanao's 336,000 votes were enough to influence the outcome of the 11th and 12th places in the senatorial race.

Go said that instead of votes being tallied in precincts, all ballot boxes were hauled to the provincial capitol where the votes were counted. But no Namfrel volunteer was allowed to witness this.

Namfrel's Maguindanao chair Fr. Eduardo Tanudtanud, OMI, said: "Our volunteers were told that municipal election officers issued a verbal order to withhold the release of all copies of the ERs, including Namfrel's sixth copy."

"In view of what we perceive as the systematic withholding of the ERs to Namfrel that casts doubt on the integrity of the sixth copy of the election returns, we will.not include the Maguindanao results in our quick count," Tanudtanud said.

Pineda questions priest's win (Central Luzon Desk)

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga -- Losing candidate Lilia Pineda is contesting the victory of Fr. Eddie Panlilio as Pampanga governor.

Pineda's lawyer has filed a notice of appeal on the ruling of the provincial board of canvassers (PBOC) that had denied a petition seeking the exclusion of the certificate of canvass of votes from Mabalacat town in Friday's canvassing.

Mabalacat had seven "excess and spurious" election returns (ERs) when the municipality had only 399 precincts, the petition said.

The appeal is expected to be filed Monday with the PBOC, which is chaired by Commission on Election provincial supervisor Temie Lambino.

Lambino announced the PBOC's junking of the petition after the Mabalacat municipal board of canvassers (MBOC) confirmed the "error in mathematical computation" it reported in a certification issued to Pineda's lawyer.

The MBOC earlier issued to Aramis Mendoza, Pineda's counsel, an amended certification that the town had 399 election returns and that it had no excess or spurious ERs.

Vivina Dabu, Panlilio's lawyer, said the certification was "not an official Comelec form."

"The lawyer of Board Member Pineda also expressed her intention to file a petition when the (municipal) canvassing was over," Dabu said on Friday's canvassing.

Panlilio won't quit priesthood, but duties suspended (www.philstar.com)
Newly elected Pampanga governor Fr. Eddie Panlilio has opted to remain a priest but without priestly powers while serving as the province's top official. 

Panlilio was reacting to a statement by Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz urging him to choose between the priesthood and the governorship.

"After consulting equally distinguished Canon lawyers, I understand that re-entry to the priesthood is possible after my exit from public office," Panlilio said. Panlilio's term ends in 2010.

San Fernando diocese Archbishop Paciano Aniceto, whose jurisdiction covers Panlilio's old parish of Betis, told The STAR in a separate interview that the priest-turned-politician may reassume his priestly functions after his term as governor ends. But a "certain process" would have to be followed, according to Aniceto. He did not give details.

Two pastoral letters issued by Aniceto before the elections were seen to have boosted Panlilio's gubernatorial bid. This was denied by the archbishop.

"Apu Ceto (Aniceto) told me that the suspension of my priestly duties remains as long as the reasons for such are obtaining. I take it to mean that I can apply for re-entry once I finish my term," Panlilio said.

Panlilio win should not set precedent, says party (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- What does Fr. Eddie Panlilio's victory mean to the Catholic Church in the Philippines and its occasionally prickly relationship with politicians?

A Catholic political party which fielded candidates in the May 14 elections warned on Sunday that Panlilio's victory as Pampanga governor should not set a precedent for fellow clergymen to join politics directly.

"It shouldn't be the case," Nandy Pacheco, founder of Ang Kapatiran, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Sunday.

Pacheco and fellow Catholic professionals were particularly concerned about the extent of clergymen's involvement in the political sphere, which explained why they took it upon themselves to form a Catholic political party three years ago.

They had stated that Kapatiran was to be strictly guided by the social doctrines of the Church, including the guidance on the clergy's involvement in political affairs.

Knowing that the Vatican didn't encourage the clergy's direct participation in governance, Kapatiran invited lay Catholics to run for public office this May. Besides three senatorial candidates, it also contested 25 local positions.

The idea of lay Catholics -- not their shepherds -- directly getting involved in politics appeared guided by the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI titled "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love).

Its section on justice and charity provides a clear and balanced discussion on Church and politics:

"The Church cannot and must not take upon herself the political battle to bring about the most just society possible. She cannot and must not replace the State.

Special polls reset in Lanao del Sur's 13 towns (www.manilastandardtoday.com)

THE Commission on Elections will hold special polls in 13 towns of Lanao del Sur on May 26, Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos said yesterday. 

Earlier, the Comelec postponed the elections in the Lanao del Sur towns after election officers refused to serve because of alleged "threats." 

Charges and countercharges among candidates in the province also prompted the Comelec to reset the elections. 

Abalos said the Comelec originally scheduled the special elections in Lanao del Sur towns for May 25, a Friday, but decided to move it a day later. 

"You know, Friday is a prayer day for the Muslims so we decided to move it to May 26, which is a Saturday," Abalos told reporters. 

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