Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Comelec should investigate reports that the AFP is campaigning for Team Unity candidates, presidential son Dato

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Comelec should investigate reports that the AFP is campaigning for Team Unity candidates, presidential son Dato

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today called on the Commission on Elections to investigate reports that Malacanang and presidential chief of staff Jose 'Joey' Salceda have mobilized the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pressure local officials including barangay captains and residents in Camarine Sur to support the congressional candidacy of presidential son Diosdado 'Dato' Macapagal-Arroyo.

According to reports, the AFP has also been mobilized to pressure residents to vote for the candidates under the Team Unity slate and ensure a complete victory for them in the elections.

"Reports such as these only affirm the assertion of progressive partylists and clean elections watchdogs that the supposed non-partisanship of the AFP is fake. In the last few years, the AFP has become more and more politicized as the Pres. Arroyo became more and more dependent on its support for her highly unpopular presidency," he said.

"The Comelec should immediately look into this report that the AFP is assisting in the campaign of the presidential son, as well as in forcing residents and local officials to support the Team Unity slate. Given the strong showing of the Genuine Opposition in electoral surveys predicting a sure-fire victory for its candidates, Malacanang will not hesitate to use more hard-core tactics to muster support for its slate, even the kind of support that's the product of coercion," he said.

"We hope that Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos will not exempt the presidential son's campaign from the Comelec's strict monitoring. The Comelec should also keep a close eye on the deployment of AFP troops in areas where the Team Unity is campaigning,, less the soldiers are the ones practically giving out leaflets and putting out posters of Arroyo's candidates," he said.

Macapagal-Arroyo's boasting on economic progress unwarranted; she's using the power rate cut as leverage for Team Unity

In the meantime, Rep.Beltran scored Pres. Arroyo's crowing over her recent order to have electricity rates lowered. He said that the power rate cut does not even begin to cover up Macapagal-Arroyo's general failure to genuinely improve the economy and give Filipinos a better way of life. Beltran said that Malacanang had thumbed down the bill legislating a P125 across-the-board wage increase, and so far, nothing has happened to the Malacanang promise of a salary hike for government employees who, in turn, demand a P3,000 across-the-board salary increase.

"She should have thought about this long before the elections because it is so obvious that she is using the rate cut as leverage for Team Unity. This does not even begin to bridge the gap between the public and Malacanang's anointed ones," he said.

Beltran also said that the president's boasting that she is succeeding in turning the economy around is not warranted. Citing reports from IBON Foundation, Beltran said that the performance of the peso, which is seen to soon breach the P48:$1 level, is actually due to the weakening of the dollar and the record remittances of overseas Filipino workers (nearly $13 billion in 2006), rather than foreign exchange revenues from genuinely Philippine-made exports.

"It's the election season, and historically during the moths leading up to the polls there's a lot of money floating around. No jobs are being generated, and local industries are not developing as the country remains desperately dependent on imports. Pres. Arroyo is latching on the power rate cut as an achievement when actually a reduction in electricity rates should have been implemented long before because of the decrease of oil prices in the international and local markets," he concluded.#


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