“Worse than Afghanistan,” says one; “won’t come back anymore,” says another

Munira Khan of Bangladesh won’t ever return to the Philippines should she be invited to monitor another election. “Yesterday, I had the scare of my life,” she told a press conference at the Lorenzo’s Lounge at Estosan Hotel.

Khan was with the team to monitor the 7 a.m. opening of the precincts in Dalican, Datu Odin Sinsuat on Monday when they heard an explosion. Then another. The Philippine National Police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) reported no one was injured. 

Asked why she thought it was “worse than Afghanistan,” Somsri told MindaNews, “I exaggerate a bit,” but acknowledged the presence of the tanks and so many heavily-armed men in uniform, intimidated her.

Somsri presented photographs of samples of electoral fraud such as a poll watcher filling up the ballots in Matanog town.

The observers also witnessed money changing hands from candidates to voters in some of the areas they went to.

Yunus Ali of Malaysia, a lecturer on Human Development, said Monday’s election was neither peaceful nor free but “a very expensive election.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)