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Black and White group blasts PET for trashing Loren protest

January 24, 2008 5:37pm

The Black and White Movement on Thursday said that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) had been biased against Sen. Loren Legarda in dismissing her election protest against Noli de Castro.

Leah Navarro, one of the conveners of the group, said the evidence presented by Legarda and her lawyers before the PET left no doubt that the opposition’s vice presidential bet was cheated in the 2004 elections.

At the same time, Rep. Rufus Rodriguez said De Castro may be held liable for 80 counts of election fraud in Lanao del Sur alone in relation to the 2004 vice presidential election, which the former broadcaster "won."

Rodriguez said Legarda, in protesting the result of that election, had presented damning evidence in the form of 80 spurious election returns (ERs) showing De Castro benefited from dagdag-bawas (vote padding/shaving).

The fake ERs, which were retrieved from Congress, proved without doubt that Legarda was cheated in 2004, said Rodriguez, one of Legarda's lead lawyers at the PET before he was elected to Congress last year.

Navarro said members of Black and White were stunned by PET’s decision to thrash the pieces of evidence presented by Legarda showing that the ERs used by Congress in the canvassing of the presidential and vice presidential votes had been forged.

To back claims that the election was fraudulent, Legarda’s camp had told PET that copies of the seventh ER given to the opposition and the other copies used by Congress in the canvassing differed in figures.

Rodriguez said the fake ERs belied one of the grounds cited by the PET in dismissing Legarda's protest - which she allegedly failed to prove fraud.

Rodriguez argued that the motion for reconsideration being sought for by Legarda and her lawyers is justified and has solid basis.

"It is clear that the 80 election returns retrieved from Congress from the towns of Taraka and Balindong in Lanao del Sur were all spurious as certified before the PET by Ernest Printing," said Rodriguez.

"In the four ER copies attested to as genuine by Ernest Printing and also by then Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos, Legarda won," said Rodriguez.

"It was only in the forged ERs from Congress that Noli de Castro won. So, I think the PET really erred in saying there was no evidence of poll fraud as fraud was very evident in at least one province, Lanao del Sur," he added. - GMANews.TV
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