Members of the People’s International Observer’s Mission (PIOM) were literally shocked with the just concluded May 10 elections in the Philippines. They say that if not for the nationalism and dedication of public school teachers and patience of voters, Monday's elections would be a complete disaster.
The observers cannot believe that rampant and upfront vote buying is being tolerated and accepted. Night before the elections the observers have recorded accounts of massive vote buying and harassment by various candidates.
PIOM also reported incidences were military and paramilitary groups were handling handouts and flyers as well as putting posters against known progressive candidates, Lisa Maza and Satur Ocampo.
"In 10 years of monitoring elections, I’ve never seen this level of irregularities and fraud that I witnessed on Monday," said Radhika Sainath from United States said.
Another incident they cited was in Sorsogon where they said poll watchers were standing next to voters inside precincts dictating the names of the candidates that the voters would shade.
In Abra, David Crotty of Australia said that the soldiers even took pictures of them while they are observing the polls.
"The Comelec concentrated on the machines and lost the people," Justine Kiwanuka said. “We came to observe a clean, democratic elections, but I cannot conclude that it wad,” Kiwanuka added.
PIOM is scheduled to call another press conference today to present their full report and recommendations to the government.
Credit: photo courtesy of Bulatlat.com