MILF admits cheating happened in May polls

By Lore Mae Andong, ABS-CBN News Central Mindanao

Posted at May 16 2013 03:18 PM | Updated as of May 16 2013 11:18 PM

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines - A Moro Islamic Liberation Front official admitted Thursday that cheating happened during the May 13 polls even with the use of the automated election system.

MILF First Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar told ABS-CBN News Thursday that gold, guns and goons still prevailed during the recent elections as violence transpired on the election day and the day prior in several towns in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

"'Yung mga nangyari sa ARMM is a blessing in disguise. Marami kasi nangyaring dayaan in some areas, may manipulation, gumamit naman ng pera," Jaafar said.

Aside from vote buying and manipulation of those in power, he also observed that the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines are not reliable tools.

He said when the PCOS machines were introduced to the public, majority believed that there would be an end to cheating and there would be electoral reforms. But the machines even made the situation worse, Jaafar said.

"Mas madali pala ang dayaan dahil merong iba na kinokontrol ito, ang pinapaboto lang kung sino. Nandiyan pa rin ang dayaan."

Jaafar stressed that the conduct of the elections will have an impact on the peace talks and the efforts of creating the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

"Ang bottomline dito is nandiyan pa rin ang dayaan. Bakit ko ito ipinapaliwanang ay para malinis na ang sistema dahil delikado ang peace process at dadaan pa sa plebisito ang proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law," he said.

The official expressed concern and fear that these activities will also happen during the plebiscite for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law and for the Bangsamoro Territory.

Jaafar hopes the newly-elected officials and those who will be elected in ARMM will work together for the peace talks, and serve and take care of the people.

He said now that the election has ended, it is the right time for opposing candidates and families to reconcile.