Frank Chavez presents 'witnesses' to poll fraud


Posted at May 19 2010 01:52 AM | Updated as of May 19 2010 10:52 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Former Solicitor General Frank Chavez presented 2 men who claim to have witnessed anomalies being committed within the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

One of the witnesses is lawyer Melchor Magdamo, who worked for Comelec Chairman Jose Melo, while the second witness, Arwin Serrano, is connected with electoral watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).

The 2 men presented documents to reporters to buttress their claims.

They claimed the Comelec deliberately delayed testing the compact flash cards used in Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines so there would not be enough time to test and correct flaws. They alleged that the delay allowed operators a chance to rig the results.

"Sinadya nilang i-delay para makapag-operate ang mga players sa loob ng Comelec, para makapang-daya," Magdamo claimed.

The 2 also alleged that Comelec officials, from the rank of director and up, raked in billions of pesos in 19 anomalous transactions, including the overpriced purchase of the ultraviolet (UV) lamps and ballot secrecy folders.

"Overpricing ito, yung P10 item nagiging P300, halos lahat ng transaksyon ganoon ka overpriced," Serrano said.

Magdamo explained he left the Comelec when he started receiving death threats. He later sought Chavez’s help.

Chavez said that based on the testimony from these 2 men, it appears only Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento is "clean".

Another person is expected to surface to show how the PCOS machine’s compact flash card was allegedly preprogrammed to favor certain paying candidates. That person will make public his story when he is ready.

There may be enough grounds to initiate impeachment proceedings against certain officials of the poll body once the new Congress is formed.

"Yung mga higher officials, puwedeng i-impeach, yung mga mababang empleyado puwedeng file-lan ng criminal case," Chavez said.