Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Philippine official, in standoff with police and army, pushes election fraud allegation

Expand Messages
  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/28984.html Philippine official, in standoff with police and army, pushes election fraud allegation By JIM GOMEZ | Associated
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 13, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      http://www.freenewmexican.com/news/28984.html

      Philippine official, in standoff with police and army,
      pushes election fraud allegation

      By JIM GOMEZ | Associated Press
      June 13, 2005

      MANILA, Philippines (AP) - A dismissed Philippine
      official on Monday declared he wouldn't let police
      take him alive from a Roman Catholic seminary where he
      has sought refuge after accusing President Gloria
      Macapagal Arroyo of rigging last year's election.

      The dramatic standoff heightened political tensions
      that had started to ebb over the weekend when large
      anti-government crowds failed to show up in support of
      Samuel Ong, former deputy head of the Justice
      Department's investigating agency.

      Ong sought refuge in the Manila seminary after telling
      a news conference Friday that he has wiretapped
      recordings on which Arroyo purportedly talks to an
      election official about ensuring a 1-million-vote
      margin over her closest rival in May 2004. The
      government claims the tapes are doctored. Ong had
      called on the public and the church to protect him,
      claiming he feared for his life and arrest.

      Troops and riot police took positions outside the
      seminary and at key access points to the capital to
      keep out anti-government protesters from nearby
      provinces amid what the government has called a
      deliberate destabilization effort.

      But there was no sign of deep military unrest or the
      large crowds which gathered for peaceful "people
      power" revolts that toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos
      in 1986 and President Joseph Estrada in 2001.

      Ong pressed his allegations Monday and asked for
      public support.

      "I will not allow myself to be arrested alive," told
      DZBB radio by phone. "I did not come all the way to
      the house of God only to tell a lie. Believe me, the
      one sitting in Malacanang (presidential palace) did
      not win as president."

      Lawmakers said they plan to open an investigation into
      the alleged wiretaps this week.

      Ong said a military intelligence agent who was
      involved in wiretapping Arroyo, Sgt. Vidal Doble, has
      also voluntarily sought refuge in the seminary. The
      military alleged that Doble was being held against his
      will and deployed troops and two armed personnel
      carriers around the seminary walls Monday.

      The election fraud allegations _ along with an ongoing
      Senate probe of allegations that her family pocketed
      illegal gambling payoffs _ have sent Arroyo's
      popularity to its lowest levels since winning the
      bitterly contested election.

      She is also grappling with crushing poverty, a huge
      budget deficit, high oil prices and allegations of
      massive government corruption.

      A tired-looking Arroyo appeared before a sparse
      Independence Day crowd Sunday and pleaded for unity,
      but warned she was prepared to use her power to
      protect democracy and her reforms.

      In a country often buffeted by political turmoil, many
      analysts were unsure how the current storm would end.

      "It's a political tele-series, I think," Professor
      Segundo Romero of the state-run University of the
      Philippines told ABS-CBN television. "People are
      asking how it would end, when in fact we're just in
      episode three of a maybe 15-episode thing."
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.