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News :: Human Rights : International : Organizing : Politics : Social Welfare
PHILIPPINES: Ghost of the fraudulent 2004 elections will haunt this year’s polls
23 Feb 2007
As the opposition and the administration finalize their line-up, AKBAYAN (Citizens Action Party) warned voters of opportunists who would cover up the single most important issue in this year’s elections – the ‘Hello Garci ’ controversy.
During the launching of its campaign for the rebirth of dignity, principles and integrity in Philippine politics, AKBAYAN urged voters to look beyond the circus and put the “Hello Garci ” controversy at the core of the May 2007 elections.

According to AKBAYAN President Ronald Llamas, the electoral exercise will be a referendum on the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) administration. “This is a monumental test on our democracy, and the credibility of the May 2007 polls rests on whether it is able to facilitate a resolution to the crisis haunting the GMA administration and the political system,” Llamas said. “Voters should pay no heed to the glitzy political ads or the entertaining sound bites from the candidates. The most relevant campaign ad will still be the conversations between GMA and Garci .”

AKBAYAN solon, Representative Etta Rosales urged Filipinos to remember the Commission on Election (COMELEC) tabulators who walked out of PICCbuilding in 1986 in protest of the brazen manipulation of electoral results in favor of Marcos. “We have good reasons to believe that the government will use everything, from public funds to its cheating machinery, to ensure the victory of an unpopular slate. Only the courage of the citizens can counter electoral fraud and protect our democracy,” Rep. Rosales said.

The group also chided the administration for dragging its feet in reforming the COMELEC and the electoral process. “Not only did the administration compromise our political institutions to evade accountability, it also failed to reform the COMELEC. For instance, despite the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the COMELEC, it seems that the military, under Defense Sec. Ebdane , will be forced by the GMA administration to support administration candidates,” according to another AKBAYAN solon, Rep. Mayong Aguja . “We don’t expect COMELEC, just like the GMA administration, to have the political will to implement fully reform laws such as the Election Automation Act and the Fair Elections Act.”

Former Davao Rep.Gico Dayanghirang , a member of AKBAYAN’s Executive Committee, called on fellow Mindanaoans to be vigilant and protect the sanctity of the ballot. “The ‘Hello Garci ’ controversy revealed a great disservice to Mindanao . The administration’s cheating machinery will once again try to rob Mindanaoans of their voice this May. We must make sure that cheating won’t happen again in the region,” Dayanghirang said.

Meanwhile, University of the Philippines (UP) Professor Walden Bello challenged senatorial candidates to prove their independence from Malacañang . “May 2007 is not politics as usual. Do not allow GMA to spoil the only decent thing that this election could promise – the impeachment of a fraudulent Presidency. The 2007 polls will be and should be used to resolve the crisis of legitimacy,” Bello said.

AKBAYAN Rep. Risa Hontiveros , for her part, said that what’s at stake in the elections is the opportunity to reform Philippine politics. “The administration will attempt to cheat, that’s for sure. But May 2007 could also be used for transformation, a rebirth of dignity, decency and integrity in Philippine politics. We must cast our votes not only in favor of those who would put a closure to the “Hello Garci ” controversy, but most importantly, those who would choose to put an end to our people’s dehumanizing poverty and political exclusion,” Rep.
Hontiveros said.

February 12, 2007
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