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Binay: fight ala Garci

United Opposition (UNO) vice presidential candidate and Makati Mayor Jojo Binay said yesterday that some groups were preparing to rig the May 10 balloting and asked the people to fight those who would attempt to cheat a la Garci.

Speaking over the radio in Cebu, Binay disclosed that his camp had received reports that their political opponents were readying the “cheating machines” to ensure the victory of their candidates.

“We have received reports…  na may gagawa talaga ng paraan para mandaya,” Binay said. “Ang masasabi lang namin ay hindi kami papayag na tayo ay magkaroon ng karanasan na a la Garci. Sama-sama po kaming pupunta sa kalye at lalabanan ang pandaraya,” he added.

The Makati mayor was referring to the purported conversation between Presidential Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and then Elections Commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to rig the 2004 elections that gave the chief executive a fresh mandate.

The Commission on Elections’ lack of preparation to conduct the country’s first computerized balloting, the poll body’s tainted reputation because of the counting irregularities in the 2004 elections and the power outages in Mindanao had also caused serious concerns among several groups, including the business sector, fearing that these factors could undermine the integrity of the electoral exercise.

Binay has raised the possibility of an election failure, an issue now shared by businessmen, stemming from the poor performance of the counting machines during field tests conducted last January and February. Observers reported transmission problems, rejection of ballots, failure of some machines to read ballots and long queues during the field tests, among others.

“Kapag napapakinggan po natin itong mga pagkukulang na hindi po napupunan ng ating Comelec, ako po ay natatakot na baka tayo ay magkaroon ng failure of elections dahil malakas din po ang pagnanasa, pagnanais ng iilan na magpatuloy sa ating pamahalaan sa pamamagitan ng failure of elections,” Binay explained.

The UNO presidential bet also urged the people to be vigilant against poll cheats, saying that computerized balloting does not guarantee a clean and honest election.

“Marami po kasing expectations sa automation na nakakalimutan na ang automation ay para lamang po mapadali ang pagbibilang… at hindi na tayo naghihintay ng linggo o buwan para malaman kung sino ang nanalo. Kaya ‘yung mga pandarayang gagawin bago bumoto… naririyan pa rin po ‘yan,” Binay said.#