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Records in 500 election cases missing–Namfrel

/ 10:03 PM November 26, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—More than 500 election cases are in danger of being dismissed by the Commission on Elections because their records have been lost, the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said Saturday.

Namfrel said these cases, which were filed between 1997 and 2006, include  one against Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao regional election director Ray Sumalipao.

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Sumalipao was one of the alleged  “Garci Boys” or those perceived to have been close to the controversial former election commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. Ironically, this case against Sumalipao was assigned to Garcillano while he was still a commissioner.

Namfrel said that many of the records of these cases were lost in a fire at the Comelec, while in others, the complainant simply “lost interest.”

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“However, more than 50 of the cases have the Comelec listed as complainant. And in many instances, the respondents are Comelec employees,” Namfrel said.

“In 2003, at least five cases were filed by Comelec against several Boards of Canvassers. As they are on this list, it means that these cases against Comelec personnel have not been properly investigated or resolved,” it added.

Comelec Law Department Director Esmeralda Ladra advised concerned parties and their lawyers to file their manifestation “of intention to actively pursue the case” and submit their pleadings before December 31, 2011.

“Failure of the parties or their counsel to do so [would mean] their cases shall be deemed abandoned and consequently  will be dismissed,” she said.

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TAGS: Comelec, election cheating, Elections, Namfrel, Virgilio Garcillano
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