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Philippine president vows no cheating in May congressional elections

Philippine president vows no cheating in May congressional elections

The Philippine president sought to downplay concerns over credible congressional polls in May raised by influential Roman Catholic bishops, saying Monday her government will police its own ranks to ensure no cheating.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who continues to be hounded by allegations she conspired to rig the 2004 presidential elections, called for a meeting with the Commission on Elections, the bishops, poll watchdogs and police to pave the way for transparent and peaceful polls.
The bishops issued a statement Sunday saying the Philippines "cannot afford yet another controversial electoral exercise that further aggravates social distrust and hopelessness."
Alluding to the doubts surrounding Arroyo's 2004 election victory, the bishops said "many of our current political problems, which have hindered fuller economic development and social justice ... can be traced to unresolved questions concerning the conduct of past elections."
Arroyo, who has survived two impeachment attempts over the allegations, has repeatedly denied the accusations but has refused to answer them in detail.
"The bishops and I are on one track for clean and peaceful elections," Arroyo said in a statement, assuring the bishops and the Filipinos "that this administration will police its own ranks to protect and advance all democratic processes."
"Part of our quest to join the ranks of the first world in 20 years is to clean up the polls and let everyone take the first step forward," she said.
Elections in the Philippines are often messy, accompanied by a rise in political killings and allegations of cheating on all sides.
In the May polls, Filipinos will elect 12 out of 24 senators, all 236 House of Representatives members, and nearly 17,500 governors, mayors and other local officials.
Analysts have said the elections were crucial because opposition groups could win enough House seats to impeach Arroyo over vote-rigging and corruption allegations and send her to trial in the Senate. Arroyo's House allies were able to use their overwhelming numbers to block the two impeachment bids against her.


Updated : 2021-05-16 21:19 GMT+08:00