Surigao coalition asks church leaders to support clean elections

  • Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    AFP News
    Philippine economic growth slows to three-year low

    Philippine economic growth in the first quarter slowed to a three-year low of 5.2 percent, well below forecasts, due to lethargic government spending and weak exports, officials said Thursday. "While growth in the private sector remains robust, the slower than programmed pace of public spending, particularly the decline in public construction, has slowed down the overall growth of the economy," Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan told reporters. "Exports were the other source of the …

  • US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    AFP News
    US affirms 'ironclad' promise to defend Philippines

    US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told his Philippine counterpart on Wednesday that Washington's pledge to defend the Pacific nation remains "ironclad" and called for an end to land reclamation in the South China Sea, officials said. In talks in Hawaii with Voltaire Gazmin, Philippine secretary of national defense, the Pentagon chief "reaffirmed" the strong ties between the two countries and discussed territorial disputes in the contested waters of the South China Sea, where Beijing has been …

  • Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    AFP News
    Philippine, Vietnam troops play sports on disputed island

    Filipino and Vietnamese troops played football and tug-of-war on a disputed South China Sea island on Wednesday, officials said, closing ranks as their rival China ramps up construction of artificial islands. The games took place on Philippine-held Northeast Cay, just 2.7 kilometres (1.7 miles) from Southwest Cay which is controlled by Vietnam, where a similar contest was held last year. "It was a navy-to-navy confidence-building engagement," Vice Admiral Alexander Lopez, the Philippine …

  • U.S. says lives must be saved urgently in Asia migrant crisis

    U.S. says lives must be saved urgently in Asia migrant crisis

    Reuters
    U.S. says lives must be saved urgently in Asia migrant crisis

    The United States said on Friday the thousands of migrants adrift in Southeast Asian seas needed urgent rescue, as countries gathered in Bangkok to discuss the regional crisis. "We have to save lives urgently," U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard told reporters on her way into the meeting. Thousands of migrants are adrift, abandoned by traffickers on overcrowded boats after a Thai crackdown made it too risky for them to continue using trafficking routes through Thailand. …

  • Wenger, Arsenal eye FA Cup history

    Wenger, Arsenal eye FA Cup history

    AFP News
    Wenger, Arsenal eye FA Cup history

    Arsene Wenger would love to silence his critics by making history when holders Arsenal take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup final on Saturday. Frustrated by Arsenal's failure to win the Premier League since 2004 and their inability to make an impact in the Champions League, even some Gunners fans have turned on Wenger over the last two years. Verbally abused at a railway station following defeat at Stoke and forced to endure the indignity of supporters holding banners calling for his sacking, …

Bishop Cabajog blesses Kosug candidates. (Vanessa L. Almeda)

By Vanessa L. Admeda, VERA Files

SURIGAO CITY –The election campaign kicked off Monday with the opposition rallying the support of two big local churches in the crusade for a clean and fraud-free automated election.

Former mayor Alfonso S. Casurra, who is one of three candidates for mayor, along with vice mayoral candidate Jose Expeditus Bayana and 10 candidates for the local council officially started the local campaign period with an early morning mass at the Virgen dela Paz Y Buen Viaje Parish,  followed by meetings with Surigao Diocese Bishop Antonieto Cabajog and Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Surigao diocese Bishop Rhee Timbang.

Casurra’s group calls itself the Koalisyon nan mga Oposisyon sa Surigao (Kosug or Strength) Coalition of the Opposition in Surigao and asked for the Churches’ help in ensuring that this year’s automated election will be clean and freed from fraud.

Casurra told the bishop about reports they have received of plans by certain sectors to rig election results by hacking the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines during the transmission of ballots for both local and national candidates.

The bishop was also told about allegations that one of the board of inspectors (BEI) in a barangay is related to an elected official.

Bishop Cabajog for his part expressed support to the group’s mission and suggested the revival of PEACE (People’s Alliance for Peaceful Election) Surigao that was active in the 2010 elections.

PEACE Surigao was an initiative of the local churches including the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and the Surigao Muslim community that called for clean and honest elections during the May 2010 national polls.

Meantime, Timbang said the IFI church will be fielding volunteers in the upcoming elections and is presently organizing its youth group for that purpose.

“We have been doing this to watch and monitor the exercise and ensure that elections are conducted cleanly,” the prelate said.

At 1:30 in the afternoon, Casurra led Kosug’s proclamation rally of its city candidates at the Surigao City Auditorium.

Casura has criticized the present city administration for its ‘crisis of leadership’ and for creating an atmosphere of ‘martial law.’

He said political consultant Balgamelo “Baby” C. Ma has been meddling with the city affairs has gone as far as influencing  and overturning decisions made by incumbent City Mayor Ernesto T. Matugas.

In earlier interviews Matugas has repeatedly denied the allegations saying critics are merely politicking. He also added if ever Ma issued decisions on his  behalf, these were done with his blessings. He said he has issued a memorandum that every time he is out of the city, Ma is authorized to act on his behalf.

Ma has also denied allegations in past radio interviews.

The Surigao City government website has listed Ma as “executive assistant III “ and officer-in-charge of the Quick Action Response Team (QART).

His son Balgamelo Jr. is running for councilor in the May polls.

Casurra meanwhile pointed out the present administration is also haunted by criticisms of running the government as if on “martial law” powers referring to the alleged sacking of job order workers at the city hall who were ‘identified’ as “pro-Casurra”.

Of Surigao diocese’s almost half a million population, 77 percent are Catholics. The diocese covers the entire Surigao del Norte province.

(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF
    OIC asked to complete review of peace pact with MNLF

    The Philippine government is asking the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to finally complete the tripartite review process of the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). The review – snagged  for several years as government had its hands full with the peace process with rival faction Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – tackles how the 1996 peace pact with the MNLF has been implemented and centers on the three remaining …

  • Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe
    Alleged Binay dummies appear in Senate probe

    Eight of the resource persons ordered arrested by the Senate finally attended the 21st public hearing of the Senate Blue Ribbon subcommittee into the alleged anomalies involving Vice President Jejomar Binay, but the proceedings turned out to be a review of matters previously presented. For over three hours, the subcommittee heard presentations regarding the alleged hidden assets of Binay and the issue regarding the supposed P200 million in kickbacks he received from a deal between the Boy …

  • DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe
    DOJ wraps up Mamasapano probe

    The Department of Justice (DOJ) is wrapping up its investigation into the “massacre” of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) in Mamasapano, Maguindanao last Jan. 25. A joint team of prosecutors and NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) investigators is about to finish the second part,” Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has told congressmen. She was responding to questions raised by former senior police officer and now Rep. Samuel Pagdilao of party-list …

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options