Elections 2010:

A  look into the first automated elections in the Philippines  - Part 2

 

Payastas district, Quezon City

 

May 10, 2010   Late Afternoon

 

 

Video: Foreign observers, Kodao reporter witness gunfight in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur

 

See Part 1

 

 

 

When asked if it is her lunch at 5 pm: " Breakfast, snack, lunch at merienda at hapunan ko na ito". But the titser chairman could still smile. Mabuhay ang mga titser! Thank you, Ma'am!

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Account of a public school teacher

 

Sa wakas! Automated na ang Phil election. Well first timers really have expected, unexpected, queer, funny, silly, whatever....... experiences. Sa amin, 7 precincts were clustered so 873 voters were expected but only 662 voted. 3 ballots were not read because of ambiguous marks, nasobrahan ang pag shade o, nadumihan ang ballot. After 9 trials ayaw talaga.

It was generally successful but the first problem came when the voters came all at the same time early in the morning, dagsaan baga, there is only one non teaching staff who was assigned to control them, giving them numbers 1-100 lang na prepare so we had to make do with cut bond papers na sinulatan ng 101-400. Dun na nila isusulat ang name, prec. Nuum, at order number. Pila pa lang away na sila he he unahan ba kahit me number na tigas ulo talaga.

Then, the 4 teachers assigned sa table to verify their identity, let them sign etc. were bburdened by the almost useless book of voter na luma na, makapal pa, mabigat at kahirap buklatin kasi nga di naman nau update at naaayos. Naku buti na lang naisipan ng chairman wag na lang gamitin kasi pampatagal. Yung PCVL ad EDCVL, mga computerized listings from comelec na lang ang ginamit pinapirmahan at pinalagyan ng thumbmak.

Ayun after that smooth na po. Ako ang taga lagay ng ink at saka taga assist sa voters na i feed nila ang ballots nila. "Sarap ng buhay ko , ayaw nila sa pcos e so ako na lang he he di nila alam madali lang work ko, namantsahan lang hands ko ok lang maganda naman blending ng pink nailpolish at violet ink. o di ba?

So far, konting pagiging systematic lang tapos ang problema.Para sa kin tagumpay.....tinatawanan ako ng anak ko kasi diary na ito di ordinary comment ....anyway have a nice day everyone!!!!!!!!!!!

▲  Where they voted   ▼
           

 

Prof. Jose Maria Sison on a Noynoy presidency

From: Interview  by www.bulatlat.com on April 17, 2010

 

4. Is it not good for the revolutionary movement that Aquino becomes president so that it has a clear target for arousing, organizing and mobilizing the masses along the line of fighting for national liberation and democracy?  In the previous interview, you indicated what are the policies that Aquino would pursue against the Filipino people. Will you explain further?

 

JMS: I presume that in the first place the revolutionary movement would like to see a president of the rotten ruling system who is amenable to holding serious negotiations and making agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms in order to address the roots of the armed conflict and pave the way for a just and lasting peace.  But I also presume that if such a president does not emerge, the revolutionary movement is more justified than ever in pursuing  the people's war.

 

 

 

Together with his vice presidential candidate, Noynoy Aquino  is known to be the candidate  most favored by big foreign and local businessmen because he  is most determined to pursue the same US-dictated policies of the Arroyo regime, such as neoliberal globalization and the global war of terror.  In concrete terms, neoliberal globalization means allowing the foreign investors to plunder the country and prevent national industrialization and land reform.  The global war of terror means allowing US military forces to  violate the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines.

 

Noynoy Aquino is surrounded by agents of the US and the Arroyo regime who have been major partners of Arroyo in adopting and implementing policies that are detrimental to the national and democratic rights and interests of the Filipino people and that have plunged the country into a grave crisis of high unemployment, extreme poverty, soaring prices of basic commodities, deteriorating social services, ever widening trade and budgetary deficits and ever mounting tax and debt burden.  

 

Noynoy Aquino would be extremely helpful to the revolutionary movement if he would become president and pursue basically the same US-dictated policies of the Arroyo regime and thus become the target of the people's opprobrium.  Probably, the mass movement that fell short of overthrowing Arroyo would be further outraged and gain enough strength to overthrow the new puppet of US imperialism.

 

           
     
     
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▲  Verifying the voter as registered voter   ▼
     
     
     
▲  Filling up the ballot sheet   ▼
     

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Pahabol:

Di pa pala tapos, kahit nauna na ang ibang clusters kasi mabilis ang transmission nila, they have to wait for the other 10 clusters na natagalan magtrnsmit kasi nagkatraffic na parang new year at pasko tagal magsend ng messages di ba?..anyway, kwentuhan na lang muna, naglinis ng room, natulog, nagpasyal muna etc.

Finally at 2 am sabay sabay isinakay sa dump trucks ang mga ballot boxes na itsurang basurahan he he. buti na lang na disinfect naman ang dump trucks at saka pininturahann naman ng yellow, national color ata o dito lang sa QC?.

ok naman, 22 teachers lang ang nasa yellow cabs pero ako sa unahan ng dump truck sumakay siempre mas relaxed dun me maayos na sandalan, nasa taas pa. Sa city hall naman, mabilis tinanggap ng comelec ang mga paraphernalia tapos pinakain pa kami ng almuchow sulit naman pagod, kulang na lang body massage at spa pero ung iba natulog ba naman sa kahit saan dun nagmistulang camping at picnic ground ang QC hall. ang saya saya reunion ng mga ulirang guro. kwentuhan to the max, tawanan, asaran etc.

wat time ako nakauwi? 5 am nasa haus na ako at di pa natutulog, e2 nagsusulat ng experiences. eto na tapos na talaga ang kwento ko. no extension daw sabi ni Anne pero kagabi nag extend kami ng 1 hour kasi na delay ang ibang pcos machine as usual late ang inbang Pinoy. at ilang pcos machines. Ang susunod na kabanata? sa TV at radyo na lang...... asar na ba kayo sa pagbasa? Hope you also enjoyed kahit konti lang. thanks for patiently reading.

 

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From WW.KODAO.ORG WEBSITE

 

     
           
           

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Poll irregularities in Luzon as monitored by Kontra Daya

Posted on 11 May 2010

Based on reports received as of 5:00 PM, May 10, 2010

 

Disenfranchised voters

 

Kontra Daya received reports of disenfranchisement in several polling centers in Luzon. One case is Erika Digno of San Pedro, Laguna, a first-time voter and who availed of the extended registration for the youth. Digno told Kontra Daya she was not able to vote because her name in the voters’ list was missing when she went to her polling precinct.

 

Similar cases were monitored in other areas. Seventy percent of voters in Sta. Clara, Batangas have been reportedly unable to vote because of confusion in their clustered precincts, according to a report from Kontra Daya, Kontra Karahasan, Kontra Daya’s regional chapter in Southern Tagalog.

 

Kontra Daya monitoring teams have also received reports that the slow voting process, confusion among the BEI members about the automation system, and malfunctioning machine caused disgruntled voters to leave the polling area and just go home. Such case was monitored in in Cluster Precinct 79 and 80 of Sta. Maria, Sto. Tomas, Batangas where the malfunctioning PCOS machines discouraged voters to head home. Many first-time voters assigned to the North Bay Boulevard North Elementary School in Navotas were unable to vote because their names are not included in the voters’ list.

 

In Tanauan, COMELEC’s approved election process has been replaced with a tedious stub system. Now, people are made to fall in line first to get a number and then fall in line again to vote. Many Batangueños unable to vote are just returning home angry and disappointed. In Clustered Precinct 33 in Sta. Lucia, Aringay, La Union, voters reportedly lined up early but were frustrated by the turtle pace of the voting, prompting a number of senior citizens to leave the voting place for home without casting their ballots. Snail-paced voting in in Brgys. Burgos East and Burgos West in Vigan City, Ilocos Sur also forced some voters to go home.

 

The stub system was used as a crowd-control tool which in some cases were used to favor certain candidates (color-coded stubs). In most cases, the stubs resulted in more delays, as in the case of Manuel Roxas High School where 10 stubs were distributed, then retrieved, then redistributed, to control the flow of voters.

 

A Kontra Daya volunteer also reported that some disgusted voters in Precinct clusters 239 and 246 in Brgy. Holy Spirit in Quezon City have started to go home after the polling center only opened at around 8:30 AM.

 

PCOS failure

 

In Parañaque City’s San Dionisio Central that houses 24 precincts, PCOS machines malfunctioned until 11 am. Each precinct has an average of 592 voters. As of 10 am, three hours after the poll center’s opening, only about 80 people have voted. It was reported that the average voting time in the said polling center is 10 minutes per voter.

 

A consolidated report from the Southern Tagalog region shows that as of 12 noon, PCOS machines could not operate in polling precincts in San Pedro, Laguna; Brgy. Sucol and Brgy. Masili in Calamba City, Laguna; Nakar, Quezon; Ticub Elementary School, Laurel, Batangas; Ampid, San Mateo Rizal; and in Brgy. 4, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro. PCOS machines in Brgy. Nicholas, Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro and Sitio Samilang, Brgy. San Jose Antipolo were said to have overheated after a few hours of being used. Meanwhile, despite unusable PCOS machines in Sta. Maria Elementary School, Sto. Tomas, Batangas and Swa Elementary School, Brgy. San Lorenzo, Mauban, Quezon; voting continued and their ballots were to be inserted to the PCOS machines at a later time or when a PCOS replacement is available. PCOS machines also stopped working at Brgy. Mabini, Lipa City and areas in Dasmariñas, Cavite.

Similarly, according to separate reports from the field reaching Kontra Daya, malfunctioning PCOS machines were monitored in Cavite, Brgy. Puting, Kahoy Silang, Cavite; Rosales, Pampanga; V. Mapa High School in Manila; Teachers Village East in Quezon City; Justice Cecilia Munoz High School, Payatas, Quezon City; Culiat High School in Quezon City; Ligid-Tipas, Taguig City; Bagong Pag-asa Elementary School in Quezon City; Imelda Avenue, Cainta, Rizal; and Mayamot, Antipolo. This list of incidents is still partial, as reports continue to reach Kontra Daya’s monitoring teams of malfunctioning PCOS machines.

 

Delayed voting

 

Voting in a number of polling centers also started late such as in Tondo, several precincts in Quezon City, Rizal, among others. The worst case reported include polling centers in Bacolor and Lubao in Pampanga where voting started only at 12 noon. On the average, delays of 1 to hours are common throughout Luzon.

 

Election-related violence

 

Despite the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution which bans the carrying and transport of weapons during the election period, prohibiting firearms and explosives in the 150 days spanning January 10 and June 9, incidents of violence have been reported in several areas in Luzon this election day.

 

In Bacoor, Cavite, two men were killed at around 3:30 pm in a gunfight in Talaba, Bacoor, Cavite. The victims have been identified as a policeman and as a bodyguard of local congressional candidate Plaridel Abaya.

 

These killings are only the latest in a string of shootouts in Bacoor in the days leading up to the elections. Some voters in the area said they would not go out and vote, because they did not want to “risk being a victim” of election-related violence.

 

In other instances, voters have also been intimidated by the threat of violence. Voters also stayed home in Sto. Tomas, La Union, where supporters of local candidates under Lakas-Kampi-CMD traded bullets with their political rivals.

 

In at least two precincts in Manila and Quezon City, armed men — including members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and even the United States (US) army — were seen entering precincts in Ramon Magsaysay High School and P. Bernardo Elementary School.

In Taguig City, meanwhile, tensions broke due to overcrowding at a precinct inside the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP). Some were forced to leave the precinct without casting their votes.

 

Claims of fraud

 

The automated system significantly lessens the opportunities for cheating in the 2010 elections, according to the Comelec. However, reports from voters indicate that the time-tested methods — vote buying, flying voters, and dead voters registered — are still prevalent.

 

Claims of fraud are particularly rampant in Quezon City. In Holy Spirit, several voters were told that they had already voted even when they hadn’t, and learned upon checking that someone else had voted in their name. In Barangay Socoro, QC, voters reported that they were being paid to cast their ballot for local congressional candidates.

 

Other election monitors through the #juanvote and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, also noted that names of deceased voters were still on the Comelec lists in QC.

Vote-buying was also reported in Laguna, where a group of supporters allegedly hauled voters to precincts in rented vehicles, paying them to cast their vote for a particular candidate for mayor.

 

Pre-shaded ballots

 

One new form of cheating has emerged under the new automated election system.

 

There were at least nine reports of “pre-shaded ballots” in precincts in Luzon. For instance, in Valenzuela, a voter turned over a pre-shaded ballot which had a vote in favor of incumbent mayor Sherwin Gatchalian, while in Pasig, another pre-shaded ballot favoring all the candidates under incumbent mayor Bobby Eusebio’s ticket was reported.

 

In Cagayan, a barangay kagawad and a political candidate even shaded ballots for voters, according to reports.

 

In the party list race, Kabataan party list volunteers in Quezon City filed complaints after voters surrendered ballots pre-shaded with Liquefied Petroleum Gas Marketers’ Association (LPGMA). Meanwhile, the Katribu party list has expressed concerns ballots pre-shaded in its own favor, fearing that voters will be prevented from casting legitimate votes for their group. ###

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
▲  Feeding the ballot into the PCSO machine   ▼
     
     
▲  Inking  ▼
     
   

When asked if it is her lunch at 5 pm: " Breakfast, snack, lunch at merienda at hapunan ko na ito". But the titser chairman could still smile.

     
     

Foreign observers, Kodao reporter witness gunfight in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur

 

 

LANAO DEL SUR A two-hour gunfight erupted as polling places opened in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur at about 9:30 AM today May 10, killing one young woman and wounding two others. People’s International Observers’ Mission delegates, including three foreign observers from Canada, United States of America and Australia were caught in the middle of the gunfire along with Kodao Productions' reporter Raymund Villanueva and other Filipino members of the mission. Footage by Raymund Villanueva of Kodao Productions and volunteer Eugene Soco.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yufgKrUwjas&feature=player_embedded

 

From:L www.kodao.org

 

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My personal account of the Tugaya firefight
by Raymund Villanueva

KODAO Productions

 

I was caught in the middle of a gunfight that lasted hours in Tugaya, Lanao del Sur while covering the country’s first-ever automated elections. I don’t know if being ‘caught in the middle’ is a correct description because I was there as a journalist and had prior knowledge that that town is a poll hotspot. But I use it nonetheless because I did not want the gunfight to happen, much less witness it up close.

It was an early start for us in the People’s International Observers’ Mission that had me as an imbedded journalist this election day. Our group was divided into three teams and our team was composed of Canadians Randall Garrison and Carol Crabtree, American Joyce Ann Mercer, Fr Joey Evangelista, Ipe Soco and I, as well as several local colleagues. We first visited Camalig Elementary School in Marantao town, which is right next to Lanao del Sur’s capital Marawi City. Polling centers were supposed to open at seven o’clock but voting has not started as of 7:30.

We then motored to Tugaya, about 30 or so kilometers farther south. We first visited the Comelec office where they were still distributing PCOS machines and ballots to election inspectors at past eight in the morning. Tugaya acting election officer Randawal Rasuman assured us there were no problems. “Well, everything is smooth. Smooth…We open at eight o’clock” he said.

He was way off the mark. In the only precinct that started voting as of 8:45 or so everyone was campaigning, vote-buying, vote-coaching and the election inspectors were not doing anything about the situation. Money changed hands inside the precinct while the so-called assistors for voters claiming illiteracy completely took over the voting process while the voter simply sat on one side clutching the monies from dirty candidates. Even the poll watchers were vote-buying inside the precinct. The election inspectors even surrendered the task of putting indelible ink on fingers of voters to a woman who was brazenly campaigning with a loud bag printed with the name of the provincial governor who is again a candidate. While all these were happening a fisticuff erupted right outside the precinct between guys who had a disagreement over a small pack of Zest-O fruit juice.

One positive note was that the PCOS machine in that precinct was working.We observed though that there was no effort by the BEI to let the voters reinsert rejected ballots, as provided for by Comelec procedures.

I was challenged by one poll watcher when I was taking a video of him coaching a voter and passing off money. He asked what was I doing with a camera inside the precinct. When I showed him my Comelec-accredited media ID he told me to take videos of the persons outside the windows giving monies to voters inside instead. Still another woman wearing a “Project Hope” ID asked me the same question. I again flashed my ID and that ended the episode.

Stepping out of the precinct I chanced upon a group of people being directed by a bossy woman. The woman was writing ballot numbers of candidates on the palms of the people gathered round her. When I tried to take pictures, she asked who I was and what business did I have taking their picture. I explained that I am a journalist which she resented. She verbally assaulted me and menacingly said “Baka ipa-ano kita diyan.” I flashed my best disarming smile this time and pretended I was just taking pictures of the papers they were distributing around. I even mumbled something like, “Sana ho manalo kayo.” But I felt threatened and beat a hasty retreat. I found out later that the woman is a daughter in law of the incumbent mayor of Tugaya and that her husband was reputed to have many guns.

A short while later violence erupted in one of the precincts 20 meters away from where our team was standing. I ran to take videos believing my assistant cameraman Ipe Soco was right behind me. It was pandemonium. I did not know where to point my camera as there was simultaneous fighting everywhere. Guns were then drawn, cocked and trained on the crowd. Several times, a semi-automatic .45 caliber pistol and an M-16 assault rifle were pointed in my direction as men were grappling for the guns. I was a meter-and-a-half away from the muzzles. One of the gunmen even looked at my big camera and then directly at my eyes. At that moment, I lowered my camera and held my palm outwards to indicate to him that I was no longer filming. He is the husband of the woman who verbally-assaulted and threatened me; the mayor’s son; the guy who owns many guns. I reached my quota of cuss words in those few seconds. I thought, “Is this it?”

(While all these were happening, I believed all along that Ipe was right behind me. It turned out that he entered an adjacent precinct and stuck out Kodao’s flip camera outside the window and filmed me with the gunmen. This was the video we first released to the national PIOM media center that was picked up by the networks. It’s interesting to note that it was Ipe’s first video coverage and what a baptism of fire it was for him.)

I followed the gunman, nicknamed Blackman. I again turned the camera on and started filming. Shortly after many shots were fired. Ipe and I both captured it on two different angles. I was soon pushed back by the wave of people scampering away. It was then I realized my assistant was nowhere near me. My fear level shot even higher as I now worry for my partner as well.

In the succeeding lull I started looking for Ipe and the rest of the team composed of two Canadians, one American, a Catholic priest and dozens of local volunteers. I asked people if they have seen white persons but no one was telling me anything. I was still filming throughout.

It was then that I was spotted by the father of one of our colleagues, a Healing Democracy-PIOM volunteer. (This colleague and other Tugaya residents who helped us won’t be named in this article for their safety.) He directed me to walk over to the stage where I could be easily spotted while he went off to look for his son and the rest of the team. I perched myself at the center of the stage and started taking pictures. Rapid gunfire then erupted behind me. I jumped off the stage like a bat from hell and flattened myself against a concrete fence nearby. People followed my example and started piling where I was. I turned my video camera on, pointed it towards a clump of trees where it sounded they were coming from and made sure that my head is out of the firing line. People dropped to the wet grass while women were screaming. I noticed that my colleague’s dad materialized beside me. He then told me to go with him so we can find a place a little bit safe.

We joined throngs of people leaving the school premises. All the while, gunshots did not abate. I remembered Onin Tagaro’s advice to just keep the camera rolling in such situations in the hope of at least getting a good audio recording.

 

Without noticing it I dropped my DSLR. People started shouting and pointing at me. Because I could not understand Maranao I thought they wanted something from me. It was my colleague’s dad who again came to my rescue and told me about the camera. I turned around and I saw my

beloved camera on the ground. My colleague’s dad then fetched and carried it for me.
I was breathing heavily at this point. My savior kept urging me to walk faster. He then led me to a short cut and across a stream on a rotten coconut trunk bridge. We emerged at someone’s backyard and then he told me to take a rest. He ran to a nearby store and bought for me a bottle of cold water.

While resting, I tried calling Ipe. But the phone signal was bad. I texted him and my Kodao colleagues to inform them of the situation we were in. Karl Ramirez back in Manila called me but had to disconnect because he could not hear me.

When I caught my breath, my savior again told me to go with him to his house where the rest of the team may be holed up. We again took shortcuts among clumps of trees and reached his house a few minutes later. There, I was offered cold water by my colleague’s pretty sister who appeared to be welcoming a guest under normal circumstances. But, in fact, gunfire was heavier followed every so often by grenade explosions.
 

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On our way to Tugaya, I was hanging out the vehicle to take this pic. Little did I know gun muzzles would figure prominently on our day.


My savior went off again, despite pleas by his wife, to look for the rest of the team. After a few minutes, local team members collected me from his house and took us to the house where some team members were holed up. The foreign delegates were seated on the floor of just about the safest room in the house while the local volunteers hid under the table in the dining area. Our two police escorts placed themselves in strategic positions around the house. I think I was safer at my savior’s house as the place we were in was in the middle of the warring camps and gunfire was very loud. In one of the rooms a baby was sleeping, seemingly unwilling to be disturbed from her slumber by the loud gunfire. By this time, a military helicopter was already circling above.

All the while, Ipe and Fr Joey were trapped inside one of the precincts inside the school. Our police escorts wanted to get them but they were advised not to proceed as they were carrying assault rifles themselves and might be mistaken as enemies and shot at.

The gunfire has been going for hours already and it seemed I could already predict when the opposing camps would fire in response to the other camp’s gun bursts. I tried to record all these with my video camera. I was even asked not to poke it out the window as my microphone might be mistaken for a gun and we would be shot at.
 

It was then that we learned that two of our keeper’s cousins, a Healing Democracy Project volunteer, were injured by a grenade explosion. Nineteen-year old Aslea Panda had her brains blown out of her skull and her body was riddled with shrapnel wounds. She died four hours later in a hospital in Marawi City just as my other colleague reached the hospital. Her remains were immediately brought home to Tugaya and buried at seven o’clock in the evening. Aslea’s brother Sobair Panda had a big abdomen wound.

It was already twelve noon by this time. The big and beautiful Mosque overlooking the town and the lovely Lake Lanao started broadcasting prayers. Gunfire immediately ceased. We took this opportunity to slip away and dash back to Marawi City. On the highway, we saw three police armored personnel carriers full of troopers in full battle gear rushing towards Tugaya.

After reporting to the national PIOM secretariat it was decided that I go with the foreign observers on the trip back to Cagayan de Oro for safety considerations. The warring political clans know of these foreign delegates and are already being blamed for whatever news that may come out of this incident. They told me that Ipe and I should go with the foreign observers because I was already verbally threatened by a member of one of the warring clans. There were no other journalists at Tugaya, much less a fat guy with fatter-looking video and still cameras.

The last time I was in Mindanao, to cover a mission at the neighboring Maguindanao province (where 58 persons were killed in the period for the filing of candidacies for this election) I was maligned by narrow-minded journalists from several cities. I lost my Reuters hat on that trip. Previous to that, my first DSLR was stolen in Surigao del Sur, also in Mindanao. This firefight wasn’t my first as a journalist either. I was in the Manila Peninsula in 2008 when elite PNP forces rammed an armored vehicle into the lobby of the swank hotel and smothered the rebel soldiers and covering journalists with so much gunfire until the rebels surrendered without firing back a single shot. I lost my golfing umbrella then. On this coverage, I lost my Dubai cap (a cousin’s gift). I liked that cap a lot because it allows my scalp to breathe while its double layers make it waterproof. I would be happy if I would receive word later that my savior is the one using it. #
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