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Mar 31st
Home Sections Politics COMELEC Urged to Look into Proliferation of Fake Ballots in Maguindanao in 2007 Polls
COMELEC Urged to Look into Proliferation of Fake Ballots in Maguindanao in 2007 Polls PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:31

Lawyer Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III today asked the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to look into the proliferation of fake ballots in Maguindanao and other provinces in Mindanao during the May 14, 2007, senatorial election which cast doubts on the integrity of the results of such political exercise.


The bogus ballots were discovered during the ongoing recount of votes from seven provinces – Maguindanao, Lanao del Norte, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi Tawi, Sultan Kudarat and Shariff Kabunsuan – covering 44 towns and about 2,500 precincts in connection with the electoral protest filed by Mr. Pimentel against Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri with the Senate Electoral Tribunal.


In a letter to the COMELEC commissioners, led by Acting Chairman Romeo Brawner, Mr. Pimentel said in most instances, there were only fake ballots inside the ballot boxes. In some instances, fake ballots were found alongside genuine ones, making the total number of "ballots" inside the boxes twice the number of registered voters. More than 200 ballot boxes have been found totally empty.


Mr. Pimentel said the fake ballots are a few centimeters shorter and smoother in texture than the genuine ones. Imprinted on the ballots were watermarks at the lower left and upper right portions which are yellowish in color and easily seen even when not scrutinized against the light.


He said the fake ballots do not have the micro-printed words “2007 National and Local Elections” and in some ballots, these were printed back to back. In some ballots, the paper used was so thin that the ink at the front side would have a blot at the back.


Mr. Pimentel said he has received information that fake ballots with similar common characteristics have also been uncovered in the ongoing election protests in Batangas and Cebu filed by losing candidates with the COMELEC in 2007 local elections.


He cited reliable information that the machines used in the printing of the fake ballots are the very machines in the custody of the National Printing Office, implying that there was connivance of some of its officials or personnel with election fraud operators.


“What is happening to our electoral system? Where was the COMELEC, as the constitutional enforcer of our election laws, when the printing and stuffing of these fake ballots were being done?” Pimentel asked.

He expressed the hope that the COMELEC commissioners “are as alarmed as we are” over the widespread practice of using spurious ballots to frustrate the true will of the electorate. In the light of the efforts of the present COMELEC to cleanse its tainted image and regain the public trust, he urged them to undertake concrete measures to eliminate this fraudulent practice beyond the forming of task forces. # # #

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 February 2008 15:32

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