Survey firms owned by Aquino relatives, allies

A case of Kamag-anak Incorporated is now tagged behind the positive surveys showing Presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino leading the race.

Kamag-anak incorporated was a taunt referring to former president Corazon Aquino’s advisers and relatives occupying key government positions.

According to Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino (PMP) senatorial candidate Francisco Kit Tatad in reports, relatives and close associates of Liberal Party (LP) presidential candidate “Noynoy” Aquino are directing behind the scenes the surveys being conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) and Pulse Asia.

Philippine Star bared that Tatad cited research paper and documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), showing members of the Aquino clan and former associates of the late President Corazon Aquino as directors and stockholders of SWS and Pulse Asia.

Among those named in the SEC documents and research papers were Rafael Cojuangco Lopa and Antonio “Tonyboy” Cojuangco.

Lopa was director and president of Pulse Asia until last year when he resigned to camouflage the firm’s support for Aquino’s bid for the presidency. Cojuangco on the other hand bankrolled the setting up of Pulse Asia in 1990.

Tatad also said it is unusual that former Public Works secretary Jose de Jesus (under the Aquino administration) is an incorporator and director in both Pulse Asia and the SWS.

“This suggests that there was a plan from the beginning by the Aquinos to control public opinion polling in the country,” Tatad said.

Aquino’s call for People Power stirs critics

Many reacted to what was considered a “hasty” statement by Liberal Party Standard bearer Benigno”Noynoy” Aquino on calling for a people power if he loses in the May 2010 Elections.

This has caused disagreement between Cardinal Rosales and some church militants. The former considers the idea “crazy, crazy, crazy” whilst the latter thinks it is just right once the situation calls for it.

President Estrada has also expressed his dismay on such statement saying that the LP bet should not assume victory and that he should practice humility like that of his mother, former President Cory Aquino.

Supporters answer by saying Noynoy was misunderstood. Nevertheless Noynoy should watch what he says more as the election draws nearer and nearer.

High Court asked to halt automated polls

A PETITION was filed Wednesday before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to stop the implementation of the automated polls this May 10.

In an 18-page petition, the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) led by lawyer Harry Roque Jr. asked the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order and/or a preliminary injunction to compel the Comelec to go back to manual counting of votes.

This is to preserve the integrity of the election in light of several glitches in the voting machines that were reported last Monday, the group said.

Named respondents in the suit were the Comelec, led by its chairman Jose Melo, Budget Joaquin Lagonera, and private consortium Smartmatic-TIM.

CCM is the same group that asked the SC to nullify the P7.2 billion poll automation deal between the Comelec and Smartmatic-TIM. (PIA-Bohol)

Government behind Comelec in efforts to make poll automation a success

THE government is throwing all its support to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in its efforts to make the country’s first automated elections a success.

In a statement , Presidential Spokesperson Ricardo Saludo said the unwavering concerted support of the government and the people for the Comelec is crucial.

“The Comelec can count on all the instrumentalities of government to safeguard our democratic processes,” Saludo said in the wake of reports about certain technical problems being encountered during the testing of vote-counting machines or the so-called precinct count optical scans (PCOS).

In related development, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has directed Secretary Ray Anthony Chua of the Commission on Information and Communication Technology [CICT], to assist the Comelec on the technical hitches being encountered in the PCOS test runs.

“This may not just a problem of people but also of machines,” Press Undersecretary for Operations and Deputy Presidential Spokesman Rogelio Peyuan pointed out in yesterday’s regular press briefing in Malacanang.

Peyuan said the President had asked Chua to provide technical support to the Comelec and help provide alternative solutions, if any, to the problems with the PCOS machines.

He said Chua has been in constant dialogue with the technical experts of Comelec and SmartMatic.

Being one of those in the panel that reviewed the entire technical aspects of the poll automation project, Chua is in a better position to update the President on the actual situation, said Peyuan. (PIA-Bohol)

AFP, PNP on red alert for May 10 polls

EFFECTIVE Wednesday, all police and military units all over the country will be placed on high alert status, signaling the start of massive and more aggressive operations against groups which threaten to disrupt the peaceful and credible conduct of the historic automated elections on May 10, 2010.

Director General Jesus Verzosa, Chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said the full alert for police forces and the red alert status hoisted by the military means that there would be intensified intelligence-gathering against enemies, policemen, and soldiers visibility in the streets and target-hardening of voting centers across the country.

Verzosa said the leaves of absence of all police and military personnel were also cancelled to make sure that they will have enough forces to maintain peace and order from Wednesday until the proclamation of winners are made by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). (PIA-Bohol)