“Why weren’t the stolen documents reported immediately?” – poll watchdog

Cotabato City-based Romie Guialel, chair of the Citizens Coalition for ARMM Electoral Reforms (C-CARE), told MindaNews in a telephone interview Monday night that Bedol's statement before the National Board of Canvassers Monday morning that the COCs were stolen from his office needs to be investigated deeper. “Why was it not reported immediately?” Guialel asked.

Guialel said the caretakers of the COCs should be made accountable," adding the non-reportage, if indeed stolen, is suspect.

"Why did they neglect the important documents?" Guialel asked as he urged a deeper probe on the matter.

C-CARE fielded volunteers to seven of 22 towns. The rest were covered by the PPCRV (Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting)  and other non-government organizations. He specified the towns as Upi, Talitay,Datu Saudi, Shariff Aguak, Ampatuan, Sultan sa Barongis, and Rajah Buayan.

Guialel said their volunteers attest elections were held in those towns but "if the documents supporting the elections are not there, then how can we not suspect there was failure of elections?"

He said they have already submitted a report to the Comelec, but most likely they would reassess and update the report once they regroup this week.

He said they only learned of the alleged disappearance of the COCs through television news Monday. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)