International - POSTED: 2007/05/15 11:16
Elections held in the Philippines to elect members of the Philippines Senate and House of Representatives proceeded Monday despite reports of violence and allegations of fraud. Government authorities attributed the death of 116 people, including 11 candidates since the election campaigning season began on January 14 to election violence directed towards candidates and voters alike. The Philippine National Police has established special Task Forces to "facilitate the augmentation of police and military personnel" in 32 of 81 provinces that were threatened by "serious armed threats," which the government attributed to communist militants from the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP), New People's Army (NPA), and "other lawless elements." Despite the violence, Avelino Ignacio Razon Jr., deputy director of the Philippine national police characterized the election process as "proceeding smoothly."
Elections in the Philippines are routinely plagued by violence, allegations of vote buying and balloting fraud. Members of the opposition have made allegations that ballot boxes containing completed ballots were discovered before polling began, and that candidate names had been removed from ballots in select voting precincts. The National Police has reported instances of confirmed electoral fraud and vote buying, as well as organized attacks against members of the Board of Election Inspectors and their police escorts. In 2006, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal was accused of vote rigging, bribery, graft, corruption, human rights abuses and violations of Philippines Constitution.