CHICAGO—Filipino-American leaders and organizations in the United States have threatened to declare a “no remittance day" if the first ever nationwide automated elections on Monday, May 10, fail.
The National Alliance for Filipino Concerns in the US (NAFCON-US) said this in light of election-related violent incidents during the campaign period and the reported glitches that marred the machines that will be used in the elections.
“[Should a failure of elections be declared], let us make militant and prophetic protest actions. Let us declare a ‘no remittance day’ to signify our opposition to any Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo holdover government and to any form of military takeover or any rule by a civilian-military junta," the alliance said in a statement.
NAFCON-US cited calls for the postponement of elections, most notably by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s former election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, who resigned from his post shortly after making the controversial appeal.
The alliance also cited as a primary concern the heightened election-related violence allegedly committed by private armies.
“From the ranks of candidates and their supporters, many lives have already been killed and the future of many others have already been lost due to violence perpetrated by politicians through their hired goons and paid military and para-military personnel, acting as their private army and personal bodyguards," the alliance said in the statement.
Human rights group Amnesty International said in another statement that to date, at least 21 candidates and campaign managers had been killed this year.
NAFCON-US cited the November 23 massacre in Ampatuan town in Maguindanao which they said highlighted the use of government machinery, such as military and police agencies, to commit criminal acts. A total of 57 people, including 32 journalists, were killed in the carnage, considered as one of the worst cases of political violence in the country.
The alliance also said even the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has revealed plots by several groups to cheat and sow confusion aimed at making the elections fail.
Likewise, they expressed concern over the recent recall of defective compact flash cards to be used with the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines for the counting of votes, and Comelec’s suspension of the delivery of PCOS machines in some provinces.
“We know that there are no mobile phone signals in some 5,000 precincts, affecting some 10,000 vote-counting machines out of a total of 76,000 PCOS machines. We are aware of the power shortage besetting the country that threatens the conduct of the elections," the group said.
NAFCON-US called for vigilance among Filipino expatriates in the US and elsewhere abroad to thwart attempts at cheating, vote-buying and ultimately, making the elections fail.
“We appeal to the hearts of the plotters of deceit and violence to refrain from implementing their evil schemes," the alliance likewise said. —JA/KBK, GMANews.TV