[Blueboard] Newsbriefs 23 May 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan slb at admu.edu.ph
Wed May 23 17:22:07 PHT 2007

Newsbriefs 23 May 2007 Afternoon

Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan



It's 8-2-2 for GO in latest Namfrel tally (INQUIRER.net)

MANILA, Philippines -- Eight Genuine Opposition, two Team Unity and two independent candidates maintained their hold on the top 12 rankings in the senatorial race, according to a partial unofficial tally of the National Citizens' Movement for Free Elections released at 11:20 p.m. Tuesday.

GO candidate Loren Legarda is still leading with 9,624,986 votes, followed by three GO candidates -- Francis Escudero (9,370,285), Panfilo Lacson (8,279,916) and Manuel Villar (7,933,889).

Independent candidate Francisco Pangilinan is in fifth place with 7,512,265 votes, followed by another GO candidate, Benigno Aquino III, who has 7,470,608 votes.

Occupying the seventh spot is Team Unity candidate Edgardo Angara, with 6,626,557 votes. Next to him is the other independent candidate, Gregorio Honasan, who got 6,279,935 votes.

In ninth and 10th places are GO candidates Alan Cayetano and Antonio Trillanes IV, with 6,084,715 and 5,939,286 votes, respectively.

In 11th spot is Team Unity's Joker Arroyo with 5,921,281 votes. Completing the top 12 is Aquilino Pimentel III of GO, with 5,805,271 votes.

Immediately outside the top 12 are TU candidates Juan Miguel Zubiri (5,518,558 votes), Ralph Recto (5,536,885) and Prospero Pichay (5,118,707).

The latest Namfrel tally covered 133,073 out of 224,748 precincts, or 59.21 percent of the total votes cast.

Comelec seals controversial Maguindanao CoC (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- The ballot box containing vote tallies in Maguindanao province -- an alleged center of cheating in the May 14 elections -- will remain sealed until Friday.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Tuesday deferred the canvassing of the certificates of canvas (CoC) from the province, where teachers allegedly were forced at gunpoint to fill out blank ballots with the names of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's senatorial candidates.

But Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. threatened to penalize people or groups that exposed the alleged fraud should they fail to substantiate their claims, which he described as "tsismis" or rumors.

While promising to look into the allegations of cheating in Maguindanao where Team Unity (TU) claims to have scored a sweep, Abalos said the investigating panel would also look into the "responsibilities of people making this kind of a report, if they are found not to be validated or not to be true."

"We are also looking at the other side because unverified, invalidated reports, which cause alarm to our people, should not be tolerated and should not be left unpunished," Abalos said in a press conference.

He said poll watchdog Legal Network for Truthful Elections or Lente, composed of volunteer lawyers, had been made part of the task force the Comelec had created.

It was Lente that reported the claims of a Maguindanao school teacher about how she and other teachers had filled out the ballots with the help of school children beginning on the eve of Election Day.

The teacher had said that with armed men watching over them, she and other teachers were made to write on the ballots the names of the TU candidates, starting with Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson and Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay.

Asked if the group would be held liable if the accusations were proved false, Abalos said: "They could be liable for giving false and alarming information, which is a violation of our election code. That is an election offense."

Abalos appeared incredulous that allegations made by someone claiming to be a teacher over the phone would be taken at face value.

Uncalled for

"How did you know (the person) was really a teacher?" Abalos said, adding: "Let us be cautious because it causes alarm to our people. It destroys the essence of all our efforts to have a clean and credible election."

Sought for comment, Lente convenor Jose Vicente Salazar told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Abalos' remark was "uncalled for" if it was indeed directed at his group.

"The Comelec should be happy that the watchdogs are doing their job. We're not out to make the Comelec fail," Salazar, who is also the national president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), said on the phone.

Comelec exec blames reshuffle for poll mess (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- An official of the Commission on Elections Tuesday said the reshuffle of regional posts in late March could be partly responsible for the controversies that have hounded the voting in Maguindanao and other provinces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr. should not have turned the supervision of ARMM to Commissioner Rene Sarmiento, who is relatively new at the Comelec.

"Chair Abalos has been in-charge of ARMM since 2004 so he had the best knowledge about what elections there are like. Commissioner Sarmiento had less time to familiarize himself with the area, much less initiate thorough reforms to make the elections in the ARMM more efficient and less prone to cheating," said the official.

Activist group says 2.7M votes padded for use in electoral fraud (abs-cbnNEWS.com)


An activist group said on Wednesday that up to 2.7 million votes may have been padded in the ongoing canvass of votes by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), ABS-CBN News learned Wednesday.


Kabataan party-list group said the padded votes may be used to increase the votes for Team Unity (TU) senatorial candidates and administration-backed party-list groups.


An analyst of the poll watch task force of Kabataan party-list group and Genuine Opposition, Dr. Giovanni Tapang, said," "From the current standing in the COMELEC tally, 2.7 million can possibly put out 4 GO (Genuine Opposition) candidates (Aquino, Cayetano, Trillanes and Pimintel) and one independent (Honasan) out of the race."


The group said six TU candidates that can be catapulted to the winning circle are Zubiri, Recto, Defensor, Pichay, Montano and Sotto. 


The group said they uncovered the data from a check of completed city and provincial COCs from the official COMELEC canvass. Their study revealed that the poll body's canvass showed a "73.4% voter turnout in 45 provinces which is 4.42% higher than the Pulse Asia exit poll of 69%. This translates to approximately two million padded votes nationwide and counting."


"What made us suspicious was COMELEC Chairman Benjamin Abalos' premature announcement, a day after the elections, that voter turnout was 75%. This may have provided political operators with as much as 2.7 million in cheatable, negotiable votes," said Tapang,


PPCRV launches fund for election heroes (Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines -- A fund to recognize and reward election monitors and watchers who were killed or wounded while serving in the May 14 polls has been launched by the Catholic Church-based Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

The "Heroes Fund" celebrates those volunteers "who braved guns, goons and gold to preserve the ideals of suffrage and democracy."

On Tuesday, the PPCRV received a P740,000 donation from Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Romulo Neri, which was contributed by a group of businessmen and employees of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

"This is our way of showing sympathy and support for those who were killed or hurt in the line of duty," Neri said during the simple turnover ceremony in Makati City.

Pro-Arroyo coalition keeps control of House (www.philstar.com)
A multi-party, pro-administration coalition backing re-elected Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia continues to dominate the congressional race, paving the way for a massive majority in the House of Representatives and assuring the Speaker of an unprecedented fifth term.

As of yesterday's tally, the dominant party Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, which leads the coalition, has won at least 92 congressional races, the most by any of the major political parties in the House.

The Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) announced it would not field a candidate for Speaker, ensuring De Venecia of another term as leader of the House when the 14th Congress convenes in July.

In a statement of support for De Venecia yesterday, Kampi said based on consultations with its winning congressional candidates, De Venecia is the party's unanimous candidate for the post.

Kampi, led by Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, is the second largest party in the House supporting the Arroyo administration, next to the ruling Lakas-CMD whose president is De Venecia. Kampi has 48 elected congressmen and is the only party big enough to mount a credible challenge to De Venecia as House speaker.  

The Nationalist People's Coalition has 30; the Liberal Party has 21; the LDP has four; and the PDSP has 3.

"There will be a unified Congress under the leadership of Speaker De Venecia," Kampi said in its statement that was presented to De Venecia yesterday by a group of Kampi congressmen.

RP-Japan pact won't allow toxic dumping (www.philstar.com)
TOKYO (via PLDT) - Japan will give formal assurance to Philippine senators that it will not dump toxic and hazardous waste on the Philippines in an attempt to convince them to ratify the controversial Japan- Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA).

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Domingo Siazon made the announcement ahead of President Arroyo's four-day visit here where she is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe today and later with members of Japan's parliament and business leaders.

"There's the issue on the environment in JPEPA. That's a red herring. There's an agreement that there would be a side letter that Japan will not export materials considered to be bad," Siazon told reporters.

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