Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Comelec should take custody of recovered poll docus


Original Story:

A cover-up of the recovered poll documents by the military is believed to be in the offing, with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) now saying all that was recovered by the military in Maguindanao since the imposition of martial law in Maguindanao were voters’ identification cards, thus altering the original military statements that were reported by the media.

Earlier statements made by military officers said that the military had dug up some meters away from the elder Ampatuan residence that yielded not just Comelec voters’ ID but also election documents, including ballots.

A reliable Tribune source from the military told this paper that the real reason Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. was brought to Davao and interrogated, was focused on

where the election documents use in both the 2004 presidential elections and 2007 senatorial elections were hidden, since these documents would serve as the “smoking gun” to prove, without any doubt, that President Arroyo and her allies cheated massively during these polls.

The Tribune source also pointed out that MalacaƱang feared that this smoking gun that was in the possession of the Ampatuans would be used against Arroyo, should she insist on making life difficult for the Ampatuans.

“Isn’t it surprising that the military in Maguindanao knew exactly where to dig and look for the election documents? How could they (soldiers) know exactly where they had to dig?” The source said.

The United Opposition (UNO) also yesterday urged the Comelec to immediately take custody of the election materials recovered by the military in Maguindanao since the imposition of martial law in the province.

Makati Mayor and UNO president Jejomar Binay said he was concerned that a military officer had reported recovering only votersf identification cards from the Ampatuans when earlier reports said election documents were also recovered.

“Perhaps the military officer may have committed an oversight when he failed to mention that voters’ registration forms and other documents were recovered from the Ampatuans,” he said.

“Nonetheless, the Comelec should immediately instruct the military to turn over to them all election-related materials for safekeeping. We do not want these documents to disappear since these could provide proof of election fraud during the 2004 and 2007 elections,” Binay added.

The military reported recovering thousands of voters’ ID cards from a digging near the mansion of Maguindanao Governor Ampatuan Sr. last week. The voters IDs were buried together with firearms and ammunition and dug up by soldiers in a vacant lot last Dec. 3, according to Col. Leo Ferrer, 601st Infantry Brigade commander.

But while the military officer mentioned only voters’ IDs, earlier reports had said election documents were also recovered in another area.

Private First Class Domingo Igat was quoted by wire reports as saying that they dug up voters’ registration forms and other documents along with the IDs which Ampatuan supporters reportedly tried to burn.

The documents were recovered at an Ampatuan-owned warehouse near the Shariff Aguak municipal hall.

Binay, who is the running mate of former President Joseph Estrada under the UNO-PMP banner, said the presence of election materials found buried alongside high-powered firearms bolsters reports that the Ampatuans are still keeping documents showing fraud in the previous national elections.

Binay had said the powerful Ampatuan clan had reportedly threatened to tell all they know about the massive cheating in the province during the 2004 and 2007 elections to get back at the Arroyo administration for ordering the arrest of clan members.

Martial law, he said, would give the Arroyo administration the power to use the Armed Forces, the police and all agencies of government to recover these election documents.

The Ampatuans had been close allies of Mrs. Arroyo and were credited for helping her Arroyo win the 2004 presidential election against Fernando Poe Jr.

Original Story:

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