Press Release
June 21, 2007


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said Commission on Elections Chairman Benjamin Abalos stands to lose any pretension to credibility if he and his fellow commissioners will turn around by deciding to tabulate the senatorial votes in Maguindanao weeks after declaring the results from the province to be statistically improbable.

Pimentel expressed outrage that, true to the script drafted by administration tacticians, the missing certificates of canvass (COC) and statements of votes from 22 towns of Maguindanao suddenly resurfaced during the fact-finding meeting of Comelec Task Force Maguindanao in General Santos City Wednesday.

He said the published statement of Comelec spokesman James Jimenez that the supporting election documents turned over to the task force looked authentic portends of the upcoming move of the poll body to proceed with the recanvassing of the senatorial votes from Maguindanao no matter how dubious the documents are.

The minority leader said the obvious but perverted Comelec scheme to tabulate the Maguindanao provincial COC, showing that 19 mostly opposition senatorial bets obtaining zero vote, should not be tolerated specially in the light of the observation of Genuine Opposition lawyer Leila de Lima that the supporting election documents were newly manufactured.

De Lima also noted the following glaring signs that the documents have been falsified: 1. printed names in the municipal COCs were in the same handwriting; and 2. only the second copy of the municipal COCs was submitted by election officers instead of the fourth copy, which was supposed to be in their possession as chairmen of the municipal board of canvassers.

Pimentel challenged Chairman Abalos anew to resign, saying the Filipino people are intelligent enough to be hoodwinked by the efforts of Comelec officials to make a mockery of the electoral process.

By bungling the May 14, 2007 senatorial election, Abalos squandered his last chance to repair his reputation which was besmirched by the fraud-tainted 2004 presidential election that was held under his stewardship, he said.

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