May 17, 2019
PAMALAKAYA slams irregularities, reported fraud in midterm polls
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has assailed irregularities and fraud initially reported by its chapters, that eventually resulted to the dislodging of progressive candidates such as Anakpawis party-list and senatoriable Neri Colmenares in midterm elections held last Monday.
The coastal-based group was primarily condemning the intensified intervention of government security forces against Anakpawis, which is deemed illegal by the Omnibus Election Code.
“The Duterte government exhausted public funds and the state machinery against Anakpawis, to the point of threatening the electorate against voting and attacking the local leaders to undermine the campaign. This is worse than fraud, as it is an outright undermining of the supposedly civilian, free and democratic electoral practice,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The group, whose members acted as poll watchers on the elections day, seriously condemned the mass break down of the vote counting machines, the replacement of SD cards and the outage of the transparency server. It asserted that these failures are all breaches of the credibility and integrity of the election.
“There is indeed something fishy on the unexplained irregularities last elections which are mind-boggling and deserve a thorough scrutiny from no less than an independent body composed of election lawyers, people’s organizations, and information technology experts,” Hicap, former representative of Anakpawis Party-list added.
The former solon and now fisherfolk leader said his group and members are enraged that the party-list that he represented during the 16th Congress, has lost at least 200, 000 votes and that the party-list race has been dominated by traditional political dynasties with questionable advocacies and are allied with the Duterte administration.
“Anakpawis party-list is a leading political party that represents and brings the voice of the marginalized fisherfolk, who are considered as country’s poorest of the poor, in the elite-dominated congress. Removing it in the congress is tantamount to depriving the voice of the fishing sector,” added Hicap.
As a fisherman, Hicap, during his term in the congress, was the poorest house member, unlike traditional congressmen who easily become instant millionaires as early as first year of their terms.
“The Filipino toiling masses know that Anakpawis is a genuine representation in congress, who opposed self-enrichment just what other groups have carried out, and advanced for legislative measures that benefit the poor sectors, including the fisherfolk. There is no let-up on the issue of fraud and non-transparency of the elections, fisherfolk across the country is joining this struggle,” Hicap ended. ###