Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fraud Proof

House opposition unlocks 'roomful of evidence' of poll fraud

Maila Ager

THE OPPOSITION bloc has unlocked a "roomful of evidence" of an alleged "general conspiracy" involving alleged cheating in the 2004 election, which ensured Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's victory in the presidential race.

An hour before the resumption of the impeachment hearing against the President on Wednesday, Taguig-Pateros Alan Peter Cayetano, spokesman of the pro-impeachment team, made a slide presentation of supposed copies of election returns (ERs) purportedly tampered and fabricated by operators of the administration.

Cayetano said that long before the 2004 election, a group of 50 people, led by an administration ally, had been holding office at the fifth floor of the Horizon Hotel (formerly Byron Hotel) in Mandaluyong City to manufacture ERs that would show a landslide win for Ms. Arroyo. He did not name the Arroyo supporter.

"While FPJ [Fernando Poe Jr.], [the late former senator Raul] Roco, [Senator Panfilo] Lacson, and Brother [Eddie] Villanueva were still tirelessly campaigning, the Byron Hotel operators were already silently filling up the ERs," he said.

He said first, the Byron operators determined the provinces where Ms. Arroyo had a high popularity rating --Pampanga, Iloilo, Cebu, and Bohol.

Once the areas were determined, the "doctors of Ms. Arroyo" went to work starting with the voters list, he said.

"The votes to be entered into the ER's were already pre-computed and printed in a master list," Cayetano explained. "They copied the numbers into the ERs, validated them in the names of elections inspectors."

The Byron operators allegedly had the master copy of the names of all elections inspectors and where they would be assigned.

"They have the specimen too and a master forger to forge them [signatures of the elections inspectors]," he said.

The bogus forms reflecting a landslide win for the President were then sent to the pre-determined areas where the election officers replaced the real results with the fabricated ones.

But Cayetano said the Arroyo operatives were sloppy because the thumbmarks in the ERs were too small compared with the normal size of a person's thumb.

He also noted that the ink used in some ERs was either blue or red when the official ink of the Commission on Elections was black.

Cayetano said they got all these information from witnesses who had personal knowledge of the operation.

"There were problems with money that's why this information was also leaked out," he told reporters.

Aside from the tampered ERs, Cayetano also pointed out that there were still 30,000 sets of overprinted election forms that the Comelec had yet to account for.

Cayteno said these ERs translated to six million votes.

House Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero said he would also hold another press conference to expose more evidence of cheating.