maradeca may 2010

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This is the second publication of Maradeca Inc. in 2010

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Official Publication of Maranao People Development Center, Inc. Vol. 5 No. 4 March - May 2010

Old-style violence in Lanao Sur despite automated pollsThe automated election system failed to bring change to Lanao del Sur traditional warlord and goon country of Mindanao where violence and a low voter turnout marked the May 10 elections, as they did in the past. The police, military and election stakeholders reported incidents of killings, explosions, abductions and gunfights between opposing camps in this province, which has traditionally been the backdrop of the worst cases of dagdag-bawas (vote padding and shaving), when counting was done manually. But voters in seven towns did not get a taste of the new automated system because teachers failed to show up for election duty as members of the Boards of Election Inspectors amid the climate of fear. A failure of elections was declared in the towns of Masiu, Lumba Bayabao, Lumba Caunayan, Bayang, Tuburan, Sultan Marogong, and Lumbatan because there were no teachers, and in Ganassi where there were no ballots. The various incidents indicate that nothing has changed in Lanao del Sur. The violence, which ranges from verbal abuse to shooting that has been a regular feature of elections in Lanao del Sur and the Autonomous Region in Musim Mindanao (ARMM), even worsened in 2010. It is no coincidence that the province has been a major arena for the production of fraudulent poll results especially in the national vote. It was featured in the Hello, Garci scandal, the massive vote-rigging in the 2004 election, with conversations between President Gloria Arroyo and then election commission Virgilio Garcillano recorded on tape. On election day, two people, a 12-year-old boy and the other a 19year-old girl. were hit by stray M-79 bullets while they were inside a polling precinct at the Tugaya Central Elementary School in Tugaya town. The girl, Aslia Panda, was declared dead at the Amai Pakpak Provincial Hospital at 4 p.m on election day. Salic Ibrahim, head of Citizens Coalition for ARMM Responsible Election (Citizens CARE), said there were no casualties from the bombings, which he said were done by men who are probably out to harass voters and disrupt the conduct of the elections. Lanao del Sur got a preview of the intensity of the violence as early as October last year, when a bomb exploded at a voter registration center in Marawi City, killing three people and wounding 20 others. Sources said many of those trying to enlist were would-be flying voters from Lanao del Norte intending to secure registration as Lanao del Sur voters. Each person was reportedly paid P100 as down payment for a promised P1,000, with free food and travel expenses, a big sum for people living in one of the poorest regions of the country. Indeed, previous researches by Mindanews indicate that fraud and violence in Lanao del Sur usually begin during the registration period when politicians and political operators maneuver to pad the official roll of voters with names of flying voters. These flying voters are usually either non-residents or minors, or voters already registered in other precincts or localities in Lanao del Sur. In 2007, most of the flying voters came from Iligan City, and nearby Misamis Oriental towns while some were from Ozamiz Citya mix of Maranaos and non-Maranaoshauled into the precincts in jampacked trucks. This election is no different. Lanao del Sur governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. disclosed that his camp estimated the provinces number of registered voters to be padded by more than 150,000.Total registered voters in Lanao del Sur for the May 10 polls, as of March 17, 2009, was 459,012. A Mindanews research after the 2007 election showed that the number of registered in Lanao del Sur had shot up to 396,913 that year, from the 275,720 three years before, an increase that was statistically impossible. continue to page 3

Violence, low voter turnout, mark polls in Lanao provinces

Violence, vote-buying mar special polls in Lanao Sur

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Two persons lining up to vote at the Tugaya Central Elementary School ended up dead while another was wounded when a man identified as Albert Balindong strafed them at around 10:45 a.m., Major Ferdinand Cacas, head of the Philippine Armys103rd Brigade Election Monitoring and Action Center, said. Cacas added that the attack was apparently intended to disrupt the balloting process. Voting in the area was immediately stopped but it proceeded as scheduled in other precincts. Authorities have yet to identify the victims. Improvised bombs exploded near the gymnasium of the Mindanao State University campus in Marawi City. Another explosion happened when a black Isuzu highlander blew up near an elementary school where people were voting and another improvised bomb exploded at an unpopulated corner in Barangay Saduc. No one was injured, according to reports from the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reform (Citizens CARE). Salic Ibrahim, head of Citizens CARE said no person was wounded in the bombing incidents done by men who are probably out to harass voters and disrupt the conduct of the elections. Ibrahim said there were also mauling incidents in a number of precincts in Marawi. In Calanogas town, barangay chairs exchanged fire, hitting one civilian in a crossfire while armed supporters of mayoral candidates at Kapai town ended in an armed confrontation wounding one civilian at about 10 a.m. today, he said. Citizens CARE also recorded five towns that have not conducted elections: Tamparan, Masiu, Lumbatan, Tubaran, Sultan Domalondong and Bayang. Tubarans PCOS machines were not yet transported to their town and are still kept by Comelec in Marawi city. Others have absence of board of election inspectors, Ibrahim said. Suganob said Comelec officials in those towns have declared that no voting was held there. Suganob, who was at the Election Monitoring Center at 103rd Infantry Brigade, also reported that armed confrontations also happened in Tugaya town because of disagreements among candidates and municipal Comelec officials. He said voting stopped in Lumbayanagu, too, due to violence. Suganob added that there are barangays in Balindong and BacolodKalawi towns that stopped voting. Mahid Sakar, also of Citizens CARE, reported that two barangays in Buadiposo Buntong town held manual elections because their PCOS machines malfunctioned. Sakar reported that some barangay officials in the town went inside the precincts and called on the electorate to vote instead of BEIs doing it. Even soldiers failed to control them. Ibrahim said that election failed to start early while a number of PCOS machines malfunctioned. He also said that Maranao voters arent using priority numbers; they used the continue to page 5

Reports of fraud and violence marked the special elections held in Lanao del Sur Thursday as vote-buying proliferated, with the price pegged at anywhere from P10,000 to 15,000 per family. This was the report made by the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reform (Citizens CARE), an election watchdog in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which monitored the conduct of special election in the Lanao areas. Citizens CARE also said the indiscriminate firing of guns left a nineyear-old girl in critical condition. Special elections were conducted in190 clustered precincts in seven towns in Lanao del Sur, based on Comelec Resolution 8965. The resolution covered the towns of Sultan Dumalundong, Lumba Bayabao, Masiu, Tubaran, Lumbaca Unayan, Marogong and Bayang which had a total of 71,578 voters. The elections in these towns remained hotly contested because the results will determine who will win the congressional seat in the provinces second district, as well as local officials. A nine-year-old girl watching from her window got hit by a stray bullet in her left shoulder, as witnesses reported people firing guns. Although police and military manned the precincts, still the tension was high with indiscriminate firing in some towns that threaten voters, said Salic Ibrahim, executive director of Maradeca Inc. and head of Citizen CARE. Based on Citizens Cares documentation, the shooting was done by support groups of politicians in Sultan Domalondong and in Masiu towns. Citizens CARE coordinated with Legal Network for Truthful Election (Lente) in monitoring election related violence and documented cases relating to election fraud and irregularities. Citizens Care had about 241 volunteers helping monitor the special election. It was still different if trained Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) managed the election because the military and policemen lacked expertise in handling the election process, like there were those who did not put indelible ink to those who have voted, Ibrahim said. He also said watchdogs experienced marginalization in precinct centers as volunteers were not immediately recognized by soldiers assigned, although the problem was remedied by dialogues. Ibrahim also revealed that vote buying was rampant with offers going up to P15,000 per family the night before the scheduled poll. He also reported that there were supporters of national officials, contesting for elective posts still, who gave P100 or P50 per voter. We also observed those who are actively doing smear campaign against presidential candidate Mar Roxas because of his position against Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD), he said. Jhoe Musor, communication officer of Maradeca Inc., described the special election as still considered generally peaceful despite some election cases haunting its conduct. In Marogong town, Comelec officials with police and military decided that only two watchers were allowed to enter inside the polling continue to page 5

Statement

ELECTION CONCERNS REMAIN IN THE ARMM, DESPITE AUTOMATION

Old-style violence...

Citizens CARE, the COMELEC accredited poll watcher in the ARMM, d