Koko Pimente: Syndicates giving Zubiri fraudulent votes

Pimentel, who is battling Zubiri for the 12th and last spot in the senatorial race, said the alleged fraud happened in the municipalities of Sultan Naga Dimaporo and Salvador in Lanao del Norte; Sultan Kudarat, Datu Blah Sinsuat and Kabuntalan in Shariff Kabunsuan; and Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat.

“The voters’ turnout in these municipalities reached as high as an unbelievable 99.94 percent while the Zubiri obtained from 79.92 percent to 98.34 percent of the votes,” Pimentel said in a statement.

“In the municipalities where the large-scale fraud occurred, watchers-representatives from the Genuine Opposition and National Movement for Free Elections were usually not allowed to witness the canvassing of votes and were not given copies of election returns in gross violation of election laws and regulations,” he said.

In Sultan Naga Dimaporo, Zubiri got 24,560 votes or 90.29 percent of the 27,201 registered voters. Pimentel obtained only 114 votes.

In Salvador, Zubiri scored 15,797 votes or 89.52 percent of total number of registered voters while Pimentel got only 402 votes.

Pimentel called Zubiri’s lead of 15,395 votes in a town of only 17,646 voters an “incredible feat.”

“In Sultan Kudarat, up to 38,672 voters supposedly showed up in polling precincts on May 14 equivalent to 98.34 percent of the town’s 39,326 voters,” the lawyer-candidate said.

Zubiri got 33,888 votes and Pimentel 2,791 votes or a lead of 31,097 votes for the former.

In Datu Blah T. Sinsuat, Shariff Kabunsuan, 8,198 voters or 99.94 percent of registered voters reportedly cast their ballots. Pimentel, who got 2,833 votes as against Zubiri’s 7,105, said the turnout is incredible. 

In Kabuntalan, Shariff Kabunsuan, 6,838 voters supposedly cast their ballots representing 66.88 percent of the 10,225 voters. 

Zubiri got 5,465 voters or 79.92 percent of the 6,838 voters who cast their ballots while Pimentel received only 426 votes or a margin of 5,039 in favor of the Bukidnon congressman. 

In Lutayan, Sultan Kudarat, up to 25,546 voters reportedly turned out or 97.16 percent of 26,291 registered voters Zubiri scored 23,452 votes equivalent to 91.80 percent of those who voted, Pimentel said. 

The opposition candidate accused “unscrupulous and corrupt officials of the Commission on Elections” of conniving with “administration special operators” in manipulating the senatorial election.

Zubiri could not be reached for comment but he had earlier said he was confident of winning the 12th slot even without the Maguindanao votes. Maguindanao has 212,795 registered voters. (MindaNews)