May 14, 2013
Reference: Paul Vincent Casilihan
MAY 2013 MIDTERM ELECTIONS’
AUTOMATED ELECTION SYSTEM (AES) BANE!
Military hatchet men are at it again! But this time, they are joined by civilian agents of the government who are supposed to uphold the sanctity of the electoral process as a democratic expression in choosing the would be leaders of the country. Barely three (3) days before the May 13, 2013 Midterms Elections, a close van without a plate number was seen spreading campaign materials on the streets of Juban and Casiguran, in Sorsogon province vilifying Makabayan Senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño and the nine (9) progressive party lists under the Makabayan Coalition(Anak Pawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela, KATRIBU, KABATAAN Party List, AKAPBATA, ACT-Teachers, PISTON, and MIGRANTE). Written on the “flyers” are words like:”KOMUNISTANG PARTY LISTS WAG IBOTO!, HUWAG BOTOHAN TEDDY CASIÑO. These flyers are distributed by so-called ANTI-TEDDY MOVEMENT (ATM). The same red-tagging campaign materials were distributed in Daraga, Albay two (2) days before the election day. This vilification campaign happened before. It happened again this time. We strongly believe the military is behind this smear campaign just like before.
Similarly, in Masbate Province, a certain Roseler Dilapisa, Dep Ed Masbate Administrative Officer was reportedly campaigning against ACT Teacher party List claiming that it is a party list of the NPA. She was, however, campaigning for Aking Guro party list, according to the report. Also in Masbate Province,a certain Brgy. Chairperson named Narda Ylanan, was telling her constituents not to vote for the progressive party lists, said the report.
Reports coming from field volunteers in the different parts of Bicol Region tell that the Precinct Count Optical Scan(PCOS) malfunctions is sporadic. Confirmed reports from other regions of failure of elections in some places belie the COMELEC claim that the PCOS machines are reliable. The COMELEC having deliberately ignored the recommendations of election watchdogs like KONTRADAYA, CENPEG, and others to purposively correct the defects on the PCOS machines that were found out in the May 2010 elections, should be held accountable for the mess that happened in this May 2013 Midterm National Elections. Moreover, placing the electoral process in the hands of foreign company like the Smartmatic is not only appalling but a bane in itself.
Aside from the PCOS machines malfunctions, there were also reported anomalous practices in the conduct of the automated elections. In Tabaco City, there was a report of a BEI assistant feeding the ballot into the PCOS machine, of a BEI support staff from the LGU Tabaco who assisted an elderly voter and shaded the ballot without the permission of the voter. There, too, in Del Gallego town in Camarines Sur, says the report, of a precinct were the filled up ballots were gathered first before being feed into the PCOS machine. In Sorsogon City, says the report, a PCOS machine stopped working, and a voter fixed the machine because the BEI chairman seem not to know well how to operate it.
Heavy militarization is evident in many a precincts in the guise of providing security to the PCOS machines and in maintaining peace and order. But military deployment is massive compared to the May 2010 Presidential Elections.
One case of human rights violations was reported in Libmanan, Camarines, Sur. Redentor Alog, 41 years old, Barangay Kagawad of Mambulo, Nuevo, Libmanan,. town. He was shot in front of his house by five (5) unidentified armed men riding in motor bikes at about 8:00AM thjs morning while he was walking going to the precinct to vote. He cheated death by running away from his assassins towards the forested area. Redentor is a victim of frustrated murder. He is a long time member of AnakPawis Party List. He learned that his assassins asked his son about him but his son failed to inform him.
Electoral violence, vote-buying, PCOS machines malfunctions, disenfranchisement of voters, massive militarization, human rights violations,vilifications of progressive senatorial candidate and party list groups characterize this May 2013 Midterms elections.