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Subject: Comelec suspends canvassing in Surigao del Norte

Raffy (Surigao.Surigao)
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Date Posted: 18:15:52 06/04/07 Mon
Author Host/IP: NoHost/

BUTUAN CITY -- The Commission on Elections ordered the indefinite suspension of canvassing in Surigao del Norte on Saturday amid charges of massive vote-buying, electoral fraud and violence.

Joy Jonathan Sinaca, provincial election supervisor, Sunday said the order came from Comelec Chair Benjamin Abalos Sr.

Sinaca said Abalos had told them to hold the canvassing in abeyance pending the resolution of the case filed by Gov. Lyndon Barbers of Lakas-CMD, who ran in the congressional race against Tubod Mayor Guillermo Romarate of the Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi).

Barbers accused Romarate of engaging in vote-buying, fraud and intimidation, particularly in the two contested towns of Tubod and Mainit.

Barbers also said Romarate used his private army to “prevent, coerce and threaten voters.”

Romarate, who was leading in the provincial tally, denied the allegations.

“The Comelec through Chairman Abalos ordered the suspension of canvassing in the whole province due to allegations of fraud and vote-buying,” Sinaca told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

But Romarate said the suspension of the canvassing was very unusual and done without due process.

In a hastily-called press conference here Sunday, Romarate said the suspension order was arbitrary and was detrimental to the voters of the province.

“This order came without hearing or notice,” Romarate said.

He said Barbers was lying when he claimed that the elections were marred by irregularities.

“There was no [incident of] violence, fraud and vote-buying reported to the local election office and to the police,” Romarate said.

He said the order could be part of the “dirty legal maneuvering” employed by his rival to block his victory.

“The people of Surigao have already spoken. Barbers is very desperate and could not accept defeat so he’s doing this delaying tactic,” Romarate said of his former ally.

As of Saturday, Romarate continued to advance with 62,317 votes from 18 of the 20 areas of the province, including Surigao City, based on the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) tally.

Barbers, who switched posts with his brother Rep. Ace Barbers, was trailing with 56,459 votes.

Sinaca said that pending the resumption of the provincial canvassing, no proclamation would be held even if there were no complaints affecting other candidates.

“Consequently, the proclamation of winners for the top positions in the province will have to be delayed,” he said. Franklin A. Caliguid, Inquirer Mindanao


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Subject Author Date
You must know peopleNitoy Matugas (taga-Dapa)18:33:21 06/04/07 Mon
HE WHO COMES IN EQUITY MUST COME WITH CLEAN HANDS”. Barbers accused Romarate of engaging in vote-buying, fraud and intimidation, particularly in the two contested towns of Tubod and Mainit..Ace-Lyndon was also engaged in vote-buying. P500 for Ace/Lyndon.We bought some 1 gallon of Ice cream… (NT)Boyet (marajaw nga Surigao)19:12:36 06/04/07 Mon

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