Press Release
March 3, 2010


"An alarming pattern suggesting attempts to rig the elections is emerging in Mindanao. The Commission on Elections should take quick and strong steps to prevent it," NP-NPC-LDP vice presidential candidate Loren Legarda said on Tuesday as she started her Mindanao campaign in Surigao City.

The discovery of 40,000 "zombie" voters in Region 11, which includes Davao City, comes too close to a power shortage that has not only slowed down business operations in the region but also threatens to disrupt automated elections.

"Take your pick: Is this just political incompetence or political fraud on the part of the administration?" Loren said.

A day before the Philippine Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) revealed that at least 40.000 voters in Region 11 had double registrations.

"What we discovered in Davao City at Davao del Sur is only the tip of the iceberg," Howard Calleja, PPCRV legal counsel, told reporters on Monday. "We would like to see and find out for ourselves as the reports would come in from our volunteers. We heard reports of more of this in the ARMM (Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao), in the Visayas and in Luzon."

Also on Monday, Loren learned that Surigao City, a fast developing center of trade and industry in the Caraga region, has been hit by daily brownouts, a problem relayed by Mayor Pons Casurra.

At first, Loren said the power crisis, which has also started to haunt Luzon and the Visayas, was a sign of Arroyo administration's lack of political will and foresight on the issue of El Nino.

"Why is every situation for this administration an emergency?" she said during her campaign in the Visayas last week She was reacting to reports that some lawmakers are considering granting the President emergency powers to combat the effects of El Nino.

"With this new development (the discovery of flying voters), people are starting to wonder whether it's incompetence or fraud that's causing all these problems," Loren said.

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