Philippine probe over poll fraud opens

Philippine politicians began a hearing on Wednesday into the credibility of automated voting in last week's national and local elections.

Philippine probe over poll fraud opens

Philippine politicians began a hearing on Wednesday into the credibility of automated voting in last week's national and local elections, but the investigation is not expected to have any impact on the presidential race.

Senator Benigno Aquino has a massive lead in the presidential vote count for the May 10 election and is due to be proclaimed winner during a Congress session that starts next week.

Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Jose Melo, a retired supreme court justice, was questioned at the hearing and called for any evidence of fraud to be presented.

"This is obviously something to derail the elections," Melo told the House of Representatives' committee on suffrage and electoral reform after a video was played of a disguised man making allegations of electoral fraud.

"He must come out and identify himself and come out with specific charges."

Officials from Comelec and Smartmatic, which supplied the voting machines, were also asked about discrepancies in time and date stamps on ballots and transmission, and claims some machines had been reset. The hearings resume on Thursday.

Comelec said last week it had discovered discrepancies involving around 150,000 votes stored in some memory cards during the trial run of the counting machines.

Unofficial tallies since the night of May 10 have shown Aquino a clear leader in the presidential race, and the latest show his lead at more than 5 million votes over nearest rival, former president Joseph Estrada, consistent with opinion polls.

Prospero Nograles, outgoing speaker of the House of Representatives who lost his bid to become mayor of southern Davao City, has said several politicians offered stories of pre-programming of memory cards used in vote-counting machines.

"We cannot allow our people to be hoodwinked by hallelujahs to a totally flawed election process," he said in a statement on Wednesday, adding he would file charges against "the perpetrators of this nationwide election sabotage", including Smartmatic and Comelec.


Reuters

Last Mod: 19 Mayıs 2010, 16:10
Add Comment