European Parliament

Foreign observers start arriving

Foreign observers start arriving
By Christina Mendez, Pia Lee-Brago
The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign observers have started arriving for the May 10 elections, with a group from the United States ready to leave within the week for Mindanao, a perennial election hotspot.

Japan is sending 23 people to observe the elections in Metro Manila while an undisclosed number of British observers are also set to arrive before May 10.

“No, they won’t intervene. They will just observe how we will be conducting the polls this time,” a source told The STAR.

“They want to make sure that democracy will prevail and that the true will of the people will be reflected on the ballots,” the source said of the US poll observers.

Presidential candidates Benigno Aquino III of the Liberal Party and Manuel Villar Jr. of the Nacionalista Party have admitted meeting separately with US embassy officials to discuss their respective political plans.

The Japanese observers, meanwhile, will be fielded mostly to polling precincts in Metro Manila. A group may also be sent to Cebu.

British Ambassador Stephen Lillie said his country looks forward to clean and honest elections in the Philippines.

The European Union is not sending a mission to the Philippines but individual member states or some members of European Parliament may come to observe the conduct of the elections.

Gabriel Munuera Vinals, head of the EU political, economic, trade and public affairs section in the Philippines, said election observers from individual member states would focus on the National Capital Region.

He said there has never been an EU election mission to the Philippines.