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    Posted May 29, 2014 by

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    Philippine senator: Never again!

    EXACTLY 10 years after the controversial “Hello Garci” poll scandal, Sen. Grace Poe on Thursday called for comprehensive electoral reforms in the Philippines as she urged the public to learn from the harsh lessons of the fraudulent 2004 presidential elections.
    In a privilege speech marking the 10th year since the electoral schemes that cheated Fernando Poe Jr. and foiled the will of the electorate, Poe said, "We should prevent these from happening again. We should ensure that our right to elect our leaders is protected."
    Poe recollected the grand conspiracy to steal the vote from FPJ and manufacture a mandate for former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA) perpetrated by her political operators in connivance with unscrupulous officials in the Commission on Elections.
    She recounted that even before the voting began, there was already a scheme hatched by the Arroyo camp to rig the elections in favor of GMA. Poe in her speech claimed that "a large number of fabricated votes were already chamber-loaded in GMA's favor to serve as a 'buffer' against FPJ's popularity."
    "A week after the elections, Mrs. Arroyo realized that her 'buffer' votes were not enough to cover the avalanche of FPJ votes coming in from Metro Manila and the so-called Lingayen-Lucena Corridor. This is why she made no less than 15 phone calls to Garci within a 15-day period (from May 26 to June 10), realizing that the fabricated votes that her minions 'chamber-loaded' before the elections were not enough to make her win. To win, she had to have Mindanao," Poe said.
    The senator proposed several reform measures to prevent electoral fraud from occurring in future elections.
    She filed Senate Resolution No. 679 seeking to preempt computer-aided, technology-driven electoral offenses by assessing the current automated system and conducting an omnibus review of the Electoral Code and relevant laws.
    "I submitted a legislation that will address the new dynamics of automated elections and reformulate our outdated laws by creating a new set of penalties for computer-aided, technology-driven election offenses. We need to prevent 'high-tech' election fraud from making a mockery of our electoral system," Poe stressed.
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