Loida Nicolas Lewis 0

Request for Philippine Presidential Election Observers Group

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Request for Philippine Presidential Election Observers Group CONCERNED FILIPINO AMERICANS - U.S.A. c/o ATTY. LOIDA N. LEWIS 115 East 57th St., Suite 1430 New York, New York 10022 Tel. 212.756-8900 Fax 212.756-8954 Email: lblack@tlcbeatrice. com 10 March 2010 THE HONORABLE SECRETARY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON Secretary of State – U.S.A. U.S. Department of State 2201 C Street NW Washington, D.C. 20520 Re: Request for Philippine Presidential Election Observers Group Dear Madame Secretary: As you know, the presidential elections in the Philippines are taking place on May 10, 2010. There are growing concerns that place clean, fair and credible elections in jeopardy. 1) There are newspaper reports that serious power shortage is happening in Mindanao and other parts of the country. The energy crisis could imperil the conduct of automated elections. It has been reported that the government wants the entire country be placed under state of emergency. 2) The Philippine government will use for the first time an automated system. This Automated Election System is owned by the Smartmatic Corporation, a Boca Raton, Florida-based software electronic voting machine manufacturer that is partly owned by the Venezuelan government that ensured the election of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. 3) Pilot tests of this automated election system's precinct count optical scanners (PCOS) are erratic and unreliable. Currently, this system can only be operated by Smartmatic employee and there is not enough time to train the Commission on Elections and teachers, who are deputized poll workers. 4) Smartmatic was only able to deliver 82,200 PCOS, of which the Comelec will deploy 74,000 nationwide. By not having enough machines, the Comelec is force to combine several precincts into one polling place, thereby inviting, confusion, overcrowding and voting disenfranchisement. 5) The military establishment in the Philippines has been politicized. The Philippine Military Academy Class of 1978 has adopted President Arroyo as a member of the class. Currently, all the commanding generals of all the branches of the military, including Army, Navy, Air Force and National Police are now commanded by generals belonging to this class. By appointing from only one class, she has created restiveness within the military. 6) In the 2004 presidential elections, it has been reported that the military was behind the scandal that fraudulently padded the votes in favor of Mrs. Arroyo. It has also been reported that this was done in concert with the Ampatuan Clan of Maguindanao. The same Ampatuan Clan is now on trial for the gruesome massacre of 57 people, including 31 journalists. 7) President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is running as Representative for Congress. There are newspaper reports that she intends to seek the post of Speaker of the House, third in line in succession to the presidency. In case, there is failure of election in the presidency and the Senate, she would assume as Acting President. 8) NAMFREL, which has been official poll watchers of the Philippine elections since 1986, has been disenfranchised from monitoring by the Commission on Elections. Consequently, the upcoming presidential elections will be deprived of an independent, credible and trustworthy watchdog. The Comelec instead has recognized the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), a newly formed organization that has no track record in poll watching. In view of the above, the lack of integrity, transparency and credibility of the Philippine elections will jeopardize the hallmarks of democracy. That we, the Concerned Filipino Americans- U.S.A., request your good office to recommend to His Excellency President Barack Obama to send an observer team similar to that headed by Sen. Richard Lugar in 1986 Philippine Snap Presidential Elections. This team was composed of 30 Americans led by Senators Lugar and John Kerry, who observed the elections called by President Marcos. The team reported cheating, fraud and abuse during the elections. We hope and pray that you give this request your utmost attention and favorable consideration. Thank you very much. Very truly yours, LOIDA NICOLAS LEWIS, Esq. (New York) National Chair Emeritus National Federation of Filipino American Associations* ANGIE CRUZ, Ph. D. (New York) Board Member Filipino American Legal Defense and Education Fund* CELIA DONAHUE (Washington, D.C.) Former National Executive Vice President Federation of Filipino American Chambers of Commerce* GLORIA T. CAOILE (Washington, D.C.) Former National Vice Chair National Federation of Filipino American Associations* MARLON LLAMAS PECSON (Illinois) Vice-Chairman, National Election Commission National Federation of Filipino American Associations* JOSE A. GOLEZ (Texas) Marketing Director J.S. Contractors* FLORITA TOLENTINO MIRANDA (Texas) Operation Manager Transglobal Professional Resources, LLC* ANGELITO MIRANDA (Texas) Lion Tamer Lions Club International- Houston*

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