Press Release
January 15, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today accused Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos of double standard in imposing disciplinary sanctions on election officials by sacking Ferdinand Rafanan as regional director of Comelec-National Capital Region for alleged insubordination but refusing to punish field supervisors who were involved in irregularities that marred the 2004 presidential election.

Pimentel denounced the arbitrary transfer of Rafanan from the Comelec-NCR regional office to the Office of the Comelec chairman, effectively placing him on a floating status.

Rafanan was relieved after he refused to authorize field election supervisors under him to verify signatures for a new petition to amend the Constitution by peoples initiative in the absence of a clear, definitive ruling of the Supreme Court on the issue.

They are really harassing Director Rafanan. It looks like they would want to manipulate not only the registration of voters here in Metro Manila but also the results of the voting and probably lay the groundwork for the revival of peoples initiative, he said.

His removal came on the heels of their initial discovery of about 100,000 flying voters or double registrants in the NCR and the questionable registration of thousands of soldiers in Makati City although they are stationed at the Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.

Pimentel said the regional directors of Comelec play a crucial role in cleansing the list of voters of spurious registrants.

If the Comelec leadership is really not tolerating wrongdoing, Pimentel dared Chairman Abalos to go after field election supervisors accused of conniving with former Comelec Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano in rigging the results of the last presidential election, specially those in Mindanao.

He said the fraudulent acts committed by these election officials were documented in complaints and reports submitted by opposition parties and candidates and the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) and the poll watch groups, as well as in detailed stories in the media.

However, Pimentel said these erring poll officials, many of whom were mentioned in the Hello Garci tapes, went scot-free after the Abalos-led Comelec conducted a moro moro or farcical investigation of the complaints against them.

Worse, he said a number of these field election supervisors commonly called Garci boys were even promoted to higher positions in the poll body.

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