When I arrived, many of the rooms where the precincts were conducting business were closed, with a military guard right outside the door. When I tried to get in, I was told by the military that I could not, even if I showed him my (canvassing) ID.
I peeped in and saw that there were people inside. I tried my luck in another building. I was able to get in. And I was shocked to see the BEIs (Board of Election Inspectors) writing on the ballots which had already been thumbmarked. They were writing the same list of candidates on each of the ballots. A man with a bolo was also near the BEI. A ballot box was open (without padlock) while ballots were being placed inside it.
I saw the same thing (BEI writing on the ballots) being done in two precincts stationed on a stage (it is a school campus). When the BEI and other people around them realized that I was watching them, they whispered to each other but continued their task. When I left, someone approached me and asked me what I was doing. I told him I'm a watcher, and showed him my IDs.
PPCRV/CCARE were there, but there was so much fear in there that I could not blame the watchers if they did nothing. The son of the politician whose name was being written on those ballots was present in the vicinity and was going around the school rooms.
I left for another school, also in (name of town withheld upon request of author). While BEIs were not writing on the ballots, there was also massive cheating. Other people were "assisting" the voters. There was no vote secrecy and voters, watchers and "other people" were mingling in the rooms.
I was told that there were other areas where massive cheating also happened but I did not have the opportunity to visit other municipalities.
Counting will be centralized in Jolo. I am sure there will be other ways of cheating that I will see in the counting…
Yun lang… makes me reflect that election does not work here. Will have to reflect on this some more. (Raissa Jajurie / LENTE. Permission to disseminate granted to MindaNews)