Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Thousands of voter’s IDs found in Ampatuan mansion

December 09, 2009 03:48:00
Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Original Story: http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20091209-240956

SHARIFF AGUAK, MAGUINDANAO—Thousands of voter’s identification cards were among the items recovered from a digging near the mansion of Maguindanao Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. here last week, the military said yesterday.

Col. Leo Ferrer, 601st Infantry Brigade commander, said the voter’s IDs—stuffed in a sack—were buried together with a cache of firearms and ammunition enough to arm a military battalion.

The items, he said, were dug up by soldiers in a vacant lot just 300 meters away from the mansion of the Ampatuan patriarch last Dec. 3.

The excavation was part of the military crackdown on paramilitary agents and other personalities implicated in the gory massacre of 57 people on Nov. 23.

Ferrer belied reports that soldiers had seized ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia in one of the raids of the mansions of the powerful Ampatuan clan.

“All we recovered from the first digging were the voter’s IDs. We are not hiding anything,” Ferrer told the Inquirer.

“There’s no truth to reports that ballot boxes were confiscated during our raids,” he said.

Printed on glossy plastic material, the IDs were still attached to a white paper and were apparently sent by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to the registered voters by postal mail.

When asked about the authenticity of the voter’s IDs, Ferrer said he was not sure if the seized documents were bogus.

“How could I possibly tell if they are fake when I don’t even [have a voter’s ID]?” he said in Filipino.

Ferrer said the confiscated election cards were with the police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco) along with the recovered firearms and ammunitions.

“If the Comelec wants to get hold of those IDs, I suggest they coordinate with Soco,” he said.

Lt. Col. Michael Samson, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Maguindanao, said it would be premature to link the recovery of the voter’s IDs to the alleged fraud in the past two national elections in the province.

Original Story: http://politics.inquirer.net/view.php?db=1&article=20091209-240956

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