Coalition against election fraud to launch Koalisyon Kontra Dayaan
By Luisito Queano / Pet Cleto
May 5, 2016
“The issue in this coming polls is the credibility of the political exercise in the face of election irregularities and fraudulent actions made by authorities and experienced by the voters themselves since Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV) started on April 9. We are very much concerned about complete transparency as to the conduct and manner by which this election proceeds, particularly here in Toronto where we have been receiving reports of election irregularities," declared Ben Corpuz, Filipino Workers Network Co-Chair and the chief convenor of Koalisyon Kontra Dayaan.
“We are launching Koalisyon Kontra Dayaan, an election watchdog, precisely because we need to ensure that our votes are counted properly and correctly and that our voters are encouraged to get involved and actually take part in the coalition and act when needed to defend their rights to vote,” Connie Sorio of the International Migrants’ Alliance seconded.
There are about 35,000 registered voters in the Toronto precinct alone - the greatest number of voters of the three precincts in Canada. The other precincts are Vancouver and Ottawa.
“The basis of the coalition’s unity is simply to finally assure that the electoral exercise comes to an honest, clean and credible conclusion, based on integrity and transparency. What has brought us together is that there have been so many indications that these qualities - integrity and transparency - were absent since the Overseas Absentee Voting started weeks ago”, Sorio said.
“Look, there’s not even a single accredited pollwatcher from any political party and the Philippine Consulate in Toronto cannot even give us a sound and logical response to this concern. Turuan lang sila nang turuan. There’s no clear indication that a pollwatcher will be accredited soon. Perhaps they will, after the election is over,” Sorio added.
“For our part," Ron Turla, a Duterte-Toronto Organizer said, "we submitted our request for accreditation as early as March 31, but even up to this late date, the Philippine Consulate keeps telling us to come back because COMELEC has not forwarded them a letter of approval for our official pollwatchers.”
Turla's statement was confirmed by lawyers from both the Duterte team and the Poe team, who joined the coalition's meeting by phone.
The coalition has, moreover, received reports that the Vancouver consulate has given accreditation to pollwatchers in that district although they had submitted their documents later than the required 5 days before the first day of voting, April 9, in accordance with section 40 of Comelec Resolution 10052.
The obvious lack of concern of electoral authorities from both the Comelec and the Philippine Consulate of Toronto over the issue of accreditation of poll watchers in Toronto was an important common issue that drew the coalition members into unity.
Though the coalition comes late into the electoral exercise, and though poll-watching has not been properly assured for the many voters who have already cast their ballots, the recently-created coalition has their work cut out for them. The tasks of its members will be necessary in the last and critical lap of the elections: document the actions of the Philippine consulate and Comelec authorities in the final week of the elections; monitor vote-counting in Ottawa; gather reports and complaints until May the 9th and beyond; and finally, chart how the coalition's campaign will continue after the elections.
Other convenors include Duterte supporter Joey Abrenilla; community activist and organizer Mithi Esguerra; Anakbayan Toronto organizer Ysh Cabana; Gabriela Ontario Vice-chair Rafunzel Korngut; writers Petronila Cleto and Lui Queano; and union organizer Bayani Edades. Invites had earlier been sent to other political groups which were unable to send representatives.
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