Election Update

17 05 2007

With the aid of its more than 10,000 lawyers, law students, paralegals and other trained volunteers, the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (LENTE) is monitoring the canvassing process nationwide to deter fraud, violence, and other irregularities.

Apart From deploying volunteers on-site, the group also has set up a hotline to respond to a steady stream of phone calls on election canvassing anomalies.

On Day Two of the election canvassing process, LENTE gathered the following reports:

· DAVAO Attorney Israelito Torreon reported that two persons were killed in Malalag, and that there were alleged irregularities in Malita. He, however, said that election and canvassing are generally peaceful in some areas. Dagdag bawas is hindered because of the presence of many watchers in all canvassing areas. People are more vigilant now. Also, we have developed an effective system of delivery of election returns to canvassing centers,” he said.

· NABUNTURAN, COMPOSTELA VALLEY Violence has erupted in several areas during the canvassing. The canvass board chair in Nabunturan had to be replaced due to threats to his life. LENTE’s Attorney Nasser Marohomsalic reported that Nursaide Dapatuan, a PPCRV coordinator in Lanao del Sur, was mauled during the counting for Malabang town. He was advised to go to Cagayan de Oro or Iligan to seek the help of LENTE lawyers there, as he is being hunted down by partisan groups. Dapatuan is now in hiding.

· TUAO, CAGAYAN Noticing a discrepancy in quick count results and certificate of canvass, volunteer Manny Vicente reported a possible dagdag bawas threat in the area. A paralegal from the National Secretariat for Social Action (NASSA) was deployed to Tugo. LENTE Region II Head Attorney Sarah Arriola also was assigned to look into the anomaly.

· BUKIDNON — Due to the delay in canvassing in Bukidnon, LENTE Region 10 Head Nikki Cruz asked LENTE lawyers to keep close watch in the area. A caller also reported a suspicious reshuffling of Commission on Election officers two weeks ago. The officers are allegedly close to Virgilio Garcillano, the former COMELEC commissioner who is running for Congress.

· ANGONO, RIZAL — A caller reported that people were not allowed to enter and witness the canvassing in a municipal hall. Moreover, there were reports of cheating. The caller requested that a LENTE lawyer be sent there.

· MASINLOC, ZAMBALES — Volunteers of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) are instructed to collect the fifth copy of municipal certificate of canvass supported by statement of votes (SOV) by precinct. A PPCRV volunteer reported that there were only four carbon copies of SOVs there. Attorney Luie Guia of LENTE advised that the SOVs could be photocopied, but only after the Board has used it.

Help LENTE guard the sanctity of the ballot.

To help monitor the canvassing process or to report canvassing irregularities, concerned citizens are encouraged to call LENTE Hotlines 0921-5355949 (Smart) and 0927-3037122 (Globe).




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