The Philippine May 14 elections were marred by fraud, intimidation, and
political murders by the U.S. supported Arroyo regime and military. Reports
coming out of the Philippines on the recent elections indicate that there was a climate of fear, intimidation, and harassment before and during the polling. In the days following the polls, left wing poll workers began to be abducted and killed. A report in the Bulatlat Election Watch by Dabet Casteneda states, “Just four days after the polls, Jubien Abrena, 25, poll
watcher of Bayan Muna in Magara, Roxas in the province of Palawan, was
abducted by the Naval Intelligence Security Group-Western Command at about 3 p.m. on May 18 near the Puerto Princesa terminal. Three days before this incident, two other poll watchers, Jun Bagasbas and Ramib Vallevare for the party-list group, Kapataan, were abducted by soldiers on May 15 and were found dead the next day.”
Election observers throughout the country reported cases of a military
presence in and around polling places, in some cases warning people not to
vote for left wing candidates. Foreign election observers from the People’s
International Observers Mission (IOM) who were present at 10 poll locations stated that, from what they observed, there was a “military take over of the polls.” Elizabeth Hendrickson, an IOM observer in Cebu City and nearby town said, “In all of the locations of the IOM teams, militarization was prevalent.”
For most of the Arroyo presidency, U.S. Special Forces have been training
the Armed Forces of the Phillipines (AFP) through the International Military
Education and Training program (IMET). Throughout the period of violence
that has spanned the Arroyo presidency from 2001 through her second election in 2004 (also rampant with fraud allegations), to the present, Arroyo and the AFP have been linked to civilian killings. The ongoing killing, harassment, and electoral manipulation have all been done with the apparent support, monetary, training, and logistical, of the U.S. In urban poor areas of Manila the “military systematically interfered in the democratic process by harassing the voters and telling them who to vote for,” stated Canadian journalist Stefan Christoff. Christoff is in the Philippines investigating the extra-judicial killings. Since Arroyo took power in 2001 there have been 858 civilians murdered in what appear to be government sanctioned killings of left wing leaders and journalists. There have also been 198 disappearances.
There were special elections scheduled for May 26 in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, and in Lanao Del Sor, areas in the Southern Philippines. The region has been inundated with a heavy military presence in an apparent attempt to intimidate voters. The track record of fraud and intimidation in the May 14 vote appears to be happening again. Final
results of the May polls will not be known until early June.
The psychological warfare tactics used by the Arroyo-AFP regime are not indicative of a democratic state. This and the ongoing killings and disappearances of civilians forfeits the legitimacy of the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Administration. A wider peoples’ struggle for justice and fairness is justified.