Bayan Muna on GMA’s plot: From No-El to Oplan Rafael
By Delon Porcalla
The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines – Militant party-list group Bayan Muna yesterday disclosed the Arroyo administration’s purported plan to stay in power, this time through what it called “Oplan Rafael” or Retain Arroyo through Failure of Elections, replacing the previous “No Election (No-El)” scenario.
“The game plan of election operators within the Department of National Defense and the Armed Forces of the Philippines has already changed from No-El to Rafael,” Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño said.
He accused Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales of hatching Rafael himself after divulging plans of some groups to cheat in the elections on May 10.
“Rather than a postponement of the elections, the scenario builders and planners including Gonzales are now looking at a failure of elections to ensure (President) Arroyo’s stay in power.”
Casiño added Gonzales and the military, under the cheating operations, are also actively campaigning against the re-election of Bayan Muna in the party-list elections as well as the senatorial bids of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza of Gabriela.
He said Bayan Muna would file a complaint against Gonzales and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Delfin Bangit before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for election offenses.
Casiño called on Gonzales to resign for cooking up these scenarios and making negative pronouncements about the May 10 elections.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and other lawmakers urged Gonzales to just shut up if he has nothing positive to say about the first automated elections on Monday.
Gonzales earlier revealed attempts to cheat in the elections on May 10 have already started.
He said the military has started tracking down the groups behind cheating attempts that were to favor two presidential candidates he did not mention.
According to Gonzales, money is now being distributed to some Comelec officials and the military to ignore the cheating operations on election day.
Gonzales told the joint forum of the Bishops-Ulama Conference in Davao City last week that some members of the police and military, even from the Comelec, formed part of the groups behind the attempt to tamper with the elections.
Military and police officials asked Gonzales to prove his claim, but he could not present evidence.
The Comelec also summoned Gonzales, but just the same, he could not support his allegations.
Before this latest statement, Gonzales said the administration was preparing for the scenario of 30 percent failure of elections.
Sources say Gonzales’ statement on the supposed cheating operations instigated by two presidential bets is laying the groundwork for questionable election results.
“The people should always be on guard and immediately report any military involvement in partisan electoral activities, which include campaigning for or against a candidate,” Casiño added.
Casiño said they have evidence that indicated the military is also harassing supporters of Bayan Muna and those of Ocampo and Maza.
“We fear that the military’s attacks and electoral fraud against us will intensify in the coming days unless the AFP leadership seriously orders and sanctions all those involved in electioneering,” he said.
The AFP, on the other hand, assured the Catholic Church that it has no plans to take over the government if there should be a failure of elections.
AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Arnulfo Burgos said Bangit gave the assurance vowing the AFP would protect the integrity of the elections.
“He (Bangit) reiterated his stand that he is for successful elections. He allayed fears that there would be military takeover or a junta. He said this will not happen because it is unconstitutional,” Burgos said.
Bangit met with the officials of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday as a follow up to the Bishops-Ulama Conference he attended in Davao City last week. – With Jess Diaz, Alexis Romero, Marvin Sy, Jaime Laude, Evelyn Macairan