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Noynoy: Plan to cheat in May polls in the works

February 22, 2010 4:26pm

(Updated 9:48 p.m.) MARILAO, Bulacan - A plan to affect the outcome of the country’s first fully automated elections this May is in the works, presidential aspirant Sen. Benigno Simeon "Noynoy" Aquino III (Liberal Party) claimed on Monday.

At the same time, Aquino said that if elected president, he would disclose the contents of the report of a fact-finding commission that was tasked to look into the alleged irregularities in the 2004 elections that reportedly benefited President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Aquino cited "intelligence reports" reaching him indicating that the plan to cheat jibed with recent signs that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is not ready to conduct full automated elections.

"[Our intelligence reports indicate a] plan to affect the outcome of the elections," he said, but declined to elaborate pending further verification of such reports.

Aquino also cited other “concerns" but said he would wait until these are verified before making them public.

For the moment, he said his camp has already tapped volunteer lawyers who had their seminar in Pasig City last weekend.

He also said his vote protection efforts include the involvement of former Defense Secretary Avelino “Nonong" Cruz Jr.

The "Hello, Garci" scandal refers to the alleged wiretapped conversations between President Arroyo and former Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano purportedly about rigging the 2004 election results in favor of Mrs. Arroyo.

Mayuga report

Aquino also said he would make public details of the Mayuga report should he become president, referring to the findings of a panel headed by then Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga tasked to look into alleged cheating in the 2004 elections.

Aquino earlier said there is a need for closure in the “Garci" issue, so authorities will know what to do to prevent similar poll fraud in the future.

Aquino also cited newspaper reports quoting poll watchdog Kontra-Daya that at least two million ballots were printed without security features.

“Dapat panagutan yan to send a message especially to the Comelec they will not tolerate [officials] abandoning their duties (Those responsible should be made to account, to show the Comelec does not tolerate officials abandoning their duties)," he said.

Anti-poll fraud text hotline

Meanwhile, an alliance of labor organizations on Monday said that it has set up a 24-hour text hotline wherein the public may report incidents of fraud and other irregularities in the May elections.

The Workers’ Electoral Watch (We Watch), which was formally launched Monday in Intramuros, Manila, said tthey hope to educate worker-voters on the automated election system (AES) and conduct their own monitoring of fraud through readily available technology among Filipinos – the cellular phone.

“For your voice to be heard, you have to join your voice with others, you have to exercise your right to organize and mobilize, if your voice in favor of fraud-free and violence free elections in your country is to be heard," said EU Ambassador Alistair MacDonald during the launch.

We Watch is backed by the Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research (EILER), Inc., which is funded by the European Union.

“Many workers believe that the AES will not completely eliminate electoral fraud and what we watch will serve as an instrument by which 34 million workers will not be cheated and their voted counted," said EILER lead convenor Joselito Natividad.

He said that citizens may text the numbers 0929-336-1581 (for Smart subscribers), 0915-670-1434 (for Globe subscribers), and 0923-532-0142 (for Sun Cellular) every time that they might witness an act of electoral fraud or violation.

We Watch said that it plans to publish everything that it has monitored, including interviews and witness accounts. It also said that it plans to conduct ten “localized" information sessions regarding the AES for workers all over the country.- with Kimberly Jane Tan/KBK/RSJ GMANews.TV