By KONTRA DAYA
Based on reports received as of 5:00 PM, May 10, 2010
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.