Witnessing cheating in Sulu

This is from Atty. Raissa. I know this lady lawyer would write about her eye-witness experiences. I’m posting here the whole article from the MindaNews dispatch.

By Raissa Jajurie / LENTE

(This was written by lawyer Raissa Jajurie, Mindanao coordinator of
the Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal [Saligan], shortly after
May 14, while still in Sulu. Ms Jajurie gave MindaNews permission to
disseminate this but requested that the name of the barangays and town
in Sulu be withheld).

I am now in Jolo, using the internet of Notre Dame of Jolo College,
the same facility that will be used for Namfrel’s Operation Quick
Count. Am the sole LENTE (LEgal Network for Truthful Elections) lawyer
assigned to Sulu (in fact, there is no taker for Tawi-tawi or
Basilan).“This morning, after voting in Jolo where I am registered, I visited a
cluster of precincts in (name of barangay and town withheld upon
request of author). Grabe… I was really taken aback by the massive
cheating in the area. Earlier that day, a voter had been shot dead by
a policeman who refused the voter entrance to the precinct.

When I arrived, many of the rooms where the precincts were conducting
business were closed, with a military guard right outside the door.
When I tried to get in, I was told by the military that I could not,
even if I showed him my (canvassing) ID.

I peeped in and saw that there were people inside. I tried my luck in
another building. I was able to get in. And I was shocked to see the
BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors) writing on the ballots which had
already been thumbmarked. They were writing the same list of
candidates on each of the ballots. A man with a bolo was also near the
BEI. A ballot box was open (without padlock) while ballots were being
placed inside it.

I saw the same thing (BEI writing on the ballots) being done in two
precincts stationed on a stage (it is a school campus). When the BEI
and other people around them realized that I was watching them, they
whispered to each other but continued their task. When I left, someone
approached me and asked me what I was doing. I told him I’m a watcher,
and showed him my IDs.

PPCRV/CCARE were there, but there was so much fear in there that I
could not blame the watchers if they did nothing. The son of the
politician whose name was being written on those ballots was present
in the vicinity and was going around the school rooms.

I left for another school, also in (name of town withheld upon request
of author). While BEIs were not writing on the ballots, there was also
massive cheating. Other people were “assisting” the voters. There was
no vote secrecy and voters, watchers and “other people” were mingling
in the rooms.

I was told that there were other areas where massive cheating also
happened but I did not have the opportunity to visit other
municipalities.

Counting will be centralized in Jolo. I am sure there will be other
ways of cheating that I will see in the counting…

Yun lang… makes me reflect that election does not work here. Will
have to reflect on this some more. (Raissa Jajurie / LENTE. Permission
to disseminate granted to MindaNews)

About mindanaw

A Journalist from Mindanao

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