Philippine Congress starts probe on alleged poll fraud

15:41, May 19, 2010      

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The Philippine House of Representatives started Wednesday its inquiry on the alleged anomaly in the May 10 automated polls.

Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reform, said the investigation was launched on the back of mounting reports of automated election fraud in the country.

The investigation started around 1 p.m. with the videotaped testimony of masked witness presented to the panel.

A man wearing a mask, who identified himself as "Robin", claimed to have knowledge about the massive cheating meant to benefit leading presidential candidate Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III.

"Robin" said administration presidential candidate Gilbert Teodoro Jr. obtained the highest number of votes based on the unofficial canvass. But he was slashed with five million to six million votes.

He claimed that former President Joseph Estrada and evangelist Eduardo Villanueva also were subtracted with four million and three million votes, respectively.

"I'm surprised...he makes everybody jump to his seat. This is to derail the election," said Commission on Elections chairman Jose Melo.

Melo, Comelec commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal and spokesman James Jimenez, and officials of the Smartmatic-TIM Inc., the poll body's automation partner, attended the inquiry.

A party-list representative asked Comelec to safeguard all the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and the compact flash cards, including the spare ones, that were used in the May 10 polls so that they could be used to verify the results of the elections.

The Congress, which is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, will convene next week to serve as the National Board of Canvassers for the presidential and vice-presidential candidates. The official canvass will start on May 24.

Source: Xinhua
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