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Madrigal threatens to go on hunger strike

By Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 15:17:00 04/22/2010

Filed Under: Politics, Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Protest, Computing & Information Technology

MANILA, Philippines?Independent presidential candidate Senator Maria Ana Consuelo ?Jamby? Madrigal threatened on Thursday to go on a hunger strike with a farmers? group unless the Commission on Elections agrees to conduct a parallel manual count of votes in next month?s automated elections.

Madrigal made the threat when she showed unannounced at Election Commissioner Rene Sarmiento?s press briefing and told him she was worried about reports of possible massive cheating in the May 10 elections.

The senator, who is running without the support of a political party, said she has joined the clamor of a small farmers' group urging the Comelec to conduct a parallel manual count of the votes.

This method, where Board of Election Inspectors count the ballots after transmitting the results, is the surest way of verifying that the voting machines reflected the actual ballots cast, Madrigal said.

?We do not believe that there will be 100-percent, problem-free automated elections,? Madrigal said. ?We are asking for a hearing by the commission en banc and we hope they will listen to the cry of the people because we will go on a hunger strike right up to the elections," she said in Filipino.

?If the Comelec won't hear us, maybe God will,? Madrigal added.

The Comelec appeared cold to the idea of a parallel count, however.

Comelec Chairman Jose Melo said the parallel manual check of the ballots would add another layer to the already complicated process and delay the proclamation of the winners.

?You can't have two standards for counting,? Melo said.



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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