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25-26 May 2010

Philippines: Arroyo ‘not happy’ due to poll fraud allegations

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Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was “not happy” about allegations that the May 10 automated voting was fraught with cheating, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying Tuesday.

Puno said Ms Arroyo—who was herself accused of fraud in winning the 2004 presidential election—had discussed with her Cabinet at a meeting in Angeles City a transition of power to the next president.

“If the President herself is already preparing for the transition, then we hope that those who are not directly affected will heed the clear desire of our people,” Puno said in a statement.

Ms Arroyo has denied allegations at the height of the so-called "Hello Garci" scandal that she cheated in the 2004 election.

Apparently piqued by rumors that he had phoned Election Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer to rig the recent elections, Puno said he had ordered the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group to “quietly investigate” the matter.

“I think it is a deliberate attempt to try to derail the proclamation process … I will not allow anything … to delay the orderly, valid and legal proclamation of the next president of the republic,” he said.

Instead of entertaining insinuations about election cheating, he said the people should “try to focus on the canvassing and the proclamation.”

Puno blamed “enterprising idiots” for the “crude and inconsequential attempts” to undermine the results of the country’s first automated elections.

He said “it does not take a forensic or voice expert” to determine that the alleged recorded conversation between him and Ferrer was bogus.


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