PARTY-LIST GROUPS WANT TO MAKE ELECTION FRAUD A HEINOUS CRIME

MANILA,  May 20, 2004
(MANILA TIMES)
By Ronnie E. Calumpita , Reporter  -  AN alliance of party-list groups proposed on Wednesday that election cheating be considered a heinous crime punishable by death to address the problem of fraudulent election.

The Party-list Caucus, com-posed of Akbayan, Citizens Action Party, Association of Philippine Electric Cooperative (APEC) and the Citizen’s Battle Against Corruption (Cibac), also suggested that convicted offenders be deported if they are not meted the death penalty.

At a press conference, Louie Corral of APEC also lashed out at the Commission on Elections for its failure to curb irregularities in the election, which also affected the party-list system.

Cibac, APEC and Akbayan complained about the inclusion of other party-list groups in the election despite their failure to register before the deadline, and the disfranchisement and election fraud that affected their vote tally.

Corral said the Comelec itself violated election laws by allowing five party-list groups, composed of Abay Pamilya, Federation of Land Reform Farmers, Alliance of Volunteer Educators, Sandigan ng Maralita and the Democratic Workers’ Party, to join the election although the registration period for the party-list groups had lapsed.

“It was already in the middle of the campaign and yet they [Comelec officials] still recognized the five party-list groups. One of them is even winning. It’s really unfair,” Corral complained.

The Party-list Caucus, whose members are holding seats in the House of Representatives, is planning to file a case before the Comelec questioning the inclusion of the five latecomers in the election. Among the five, Corral said, Abay Pamilya is doing well in the vote count.

Rey Floreza of Cibac said the 862 votes they received in a polling center in Bulacan were reduced to 16 during the can-vassing. He said the party is consolidating evidence to prove its charge.

Ronald Llamas, Akbayan president, said the slow can-vassing of votes by the Comelec allows vote shaving and padding. He also said that although there were only 155 registered voters in Basilan, more than 200 voted in the May 10 election.


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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