Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 02:14:00 11/19/2010
A study done by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) maintained that there was massive electoral fraud in Biliran during the first nationwide automated polls last May 10.
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—A study done by the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPEG) maintained that there was massive electoral fraud in Biliran during the first nationwide automated polls last May 10.
The survey, spearheaded by Nadja Castillo of the CenPEG, entitled “A Case Study: Biliran Province, Proving into a Possible Automated Cheating” under Project 3030 Research, cited possible electoral irregularities in the May 2010 national and local elections in the province.
The study said there were allegations that members of board of election inspectors (BEI) in one barangay in Caibiran town, Biliran, had falsified Comelec documents, particularly computerized voters’ list and voters’ registration records.
A case had been filed against the members of the BEIs for allowing “ghost” voters to vote.
The CenPEG study also noted the extension of voting hours in several barangays, including Barangay Iyusan in Almeria town, which paved the way for more irregularities, such as the presence of a barangay chair clad in a campaign shirt and giving orders who to vote for.
The study added that other irregularities included voting without a CF card from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the failure to feed ballots into the PCOS machines; the entry into a voting precinct of a village watchman believed to be a supporter of the Espina clan; PCOS machines malfunctioning in Barangay Balaquid and Barangay Julita; erroneous date and time stamps on election returns (ERs) and the use of thermal paper without Comelec seal in printing ERs in three villages in Caibiran.
Citing the study, CenPEG said only the total number of votes for all municipalities was publicly shown during the proclamation and poll watchers were not able to make a comparison of votes during the canvassing due to the failure of BEIs to show the breakdown of votes from the precincts.
Lawyer Richard Alvin Japson, Biliran’s Comelec provincial election supervisor, had said the numbers were only for the municipality of Biliran, and not for Biliran province.
But based on statistics written on the board, reelectionist Rep. Glenn Chong got 39,659 votes compared to Rogelio Espina’s 40,010 votes in Biliran town, which only has 10,095 registered voters.
A brownout also took place while one Attorney Santos and representatives of an election watchdog, the PiNoy Lawyers, were questioning the vote statistics. Espina was declared winner in the congressional race when power was restored.
Former Makati City Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr., then the chair of the House committee on suffrage and electoral reforms, said ERs from Biliran’s lone district showed huge discrepancies. Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas