Press Release
January 12, 2010


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today asked law enforcement authorities and the Commission on Elections to account for election documents that were discovered and confiscated from the premises of the Ampatuan mansions in Maguindanao during the week-long martial law period to determine whether election laws were violated and whether certain persons can be held liable.

Pimentel also sought an explanation from them why still unidentified men were able to break into and ransacked the Comelec provincial office within the supposedly heavily-secured compound in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao during the holidays.

He cited media reports that the military seized election-related documents, including voter's registration forms and voter's identification cards, from a warehouse allegedly owned by the Ampatuan clan in Shariff Aguak on Dec. 5. Later, on Dec. 11, more voter's IDs were seized from another Ampatuan home in Maguindanao.

"Never mind the firearms and other properties they have confiscated. I am more concerned with the election documents and paraphernalia that were supposed to have been taken out of the mansions of the Ampatuans and the papers from the Comelec provincial office which was highly-secured, and yet it was looted," the senator from Maguindanao said.

The confiscated poll documents and paraphernalia were turned over to the Comelec provincial office pending investigation, reports said.

Pimentel suspected a sinister plot behind the ransacking of the Comelec provincial office. He cite a statement of Senior Supt. Alex Lineses, Maguindanao police chief, that it was impossible for burglars to penetrate the Comelec office because at least 200 soldiers and policemen "were securing the perimeter, both inside and outside."

"I think it was not a looting operation. It was a clearing operation so that incriminating documents would be removed in the elections of 2004 and 2007. And I would like them to be held accountable for this," he said.

Pimentel said the election documents and paraphernalia found in possession of the Ampatuans are solid proof that they were involved in rigging the results of past elections in Maguindanao for the benefit of administration candidates.

He said these incidents tend to validate his suspicion that martial law was imposed in Maguindanao as a ploy to destroy evidence and cover up the massive electoral fraud committed by the Ampatuans in cahoots with election authorities, special operators and the administration.

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