International mission says elections neither free nor fair
Bayan Muna said “massive electronic vote shaving” was the main reason why it lost in the May 9, 2022 national elections, accounting for as much as 80% drop in the number of votes compared to 2019.
A winner in the last seven elections, even the topnotcher when it first ran in 2001, the party said its drop of votes from 1.117 million to just around 219,000 is “simply unbelievable and unacceptable.”
The last time Bayan Muna votes registered such a significant decrease was in the 2016 elections. From more than 946,000 in 2013, its counted votes was only 606,000 in 2016–good for a seat in Congress.
“Even at the height of red tagging, black propaganda, harassment and dirty operation against the progressive partylists by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Duterte regime in 2019, Bayan Muna still managed to double its votes from 606,000 to 1.117 M,” it pointed out.
Bayan Muna said it seems they was targeted since the 2019 elections by the NTF-ELCAC and the Duterte administration to “unjustly stifle the effective and progressive voice of the marginalized sectors in Congress.”
The group said it will continue to protest what it believes was a “massive fraud and terrorism” in the 2022 elections as well as continue to investigate and uncover various fraud including massive electronic cheating.
Bayan Muna mentioned massive media ads and vote buying by dynastic and rich party list candidates as other forms of cheating in the last elections.
Massive vote buying
Meanwhile, an international observers’ mission (IOM) reported that the last elections were neither free nor fair and “marred by a higher level of failure of the electronic voting system.”
Members of the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) said it began its monitoring of the elections in February and its members have been in Central Luzon, the National Capital Region, Southern Luzon, Central Visayas, Western Visayas and Mindanao since the first week of April to see firsthand how the campaign and elections were held.
In its report presented last Thursday, the IOM said it also witnessed rampant vote-buying, disturbing levels of state and military orchestrated red-tagging of candidates and parties, including numerous incidents of deadly violence.
It noted that main opposition candidate Leni Robredo was strenuously red-tagged while another presidential candidate, labor leader Leody De Guzman, was the victim of a strafing attack in Mindanao.
“Many campaign activists were arrested on false charges. Large numbers of voters were unable to cast their ballots. Vote-buying was widespread. Many found their names were no longer on the voter roll, and many had to trust that election officials would later put their marked ballot paper through a Vote Counting Machine (VCM) because of the breakdown of the voting machines,” the group reported.
The IOM also reported election-related violations of human rights from March 15, noting the first political killings related to the elections took place in Sorsogon, Bicol Region, on January 15.
“The elections took place in the most repressive atmosphere seen since the time of dictator Ferdinand Marcos. The Duterte government has orchestrated state terror, marshalling the entire machinery of the state, including the judiciary, the military and police, the departments of education, social welfare and local government, in a war on dissent which continued through the entirety of the election campaign,” it said.
”The election is both a tragedy and farce of epic Shakespearean proportions, a farce in that the electoral charade was based on a sea of disinformation, disenfranchisement and intimidation of large swathes of the voting public,” the IOM added. # (Raymund B Villanueva)