How Villar built business empire with deceit, corruption: ex-lawyer

How Villar built business empire with deceit, corruption: ex-lawyer
By Aries Rufo

First of 3 Parts

MANILA, Philippines – Octogenarian Maxima Policarpio had spent most of her life in the mountains of Norzagaray, a small town in Bulacan, near the foothills of the Sierra Madre. She had hoped to spend the twilight of her life there in peace and quiet, tending a tiny vegetable garden and surrounded by fruit-bearing trees she had planted many years ago.

Related Stories:

PART 2 of 3: Villar firm faked titles through ‘layering’: ex-lawyer
SIDEBAR: The man who turned his back on Villar
PROFILE: The man who turned his back on Villar
INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: How Villar company obtained titles to contested land
SIDEBAR: Imus Estate land key to Villar-Ayala deal

Last February, despite her age, she left the comfort of her town and braved Quezon City’s noise, pollution and confusion to join dozens of Norzagaray farmers seeking attention to the imminent loss of their ancestral lands. “I am here to protect my land. I may be old, but I still have rights.”

“We are up against an influential person,” she said.

That person is presidential aspirant and billionaire Senator Manuel Villar Jr.

Represented by a counsel, the farmers detailed how they lost their ancestral lands, in the blink of an eye, to companies connected with Villar.

They also told of harassment efforts to force them to leave their lands.

“Before, we would wake up and see all those crops pulled out from the soil. They would do it at night. We were helpless. Some of them were armed. What would you do? We would just put back the plants,” Inocencia Pascual, 67, said.

The harassment, however, stopped as the election season neared. And they knew it is only a respite. “Tapos kami pag nanalo sya (We’re finished if he wins),” Pascual said.

Contested land

Court records show that the contested land in Norzagaray is supposedly now the property of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas after it was mortgaged in 2001 by two companies where Villar’s wife, Las Piñas Rep. Cynthia Villar, has a stake.

The two companies–Capitol Development Bank (now Optimum Development Bank) and Manila Brickworks–defaulted on a P1.5 billion loan it secured from BSP in April 1998 following the financial crisis that hit Asian countries. The money was allegedly spent to finance the House Speakership bid that year of Villar, who was then a congressman.

Yet, documents gathered by Newsbreak show that the two companies acquired possession of the ancestral lands through fraud and manipulative layering scheme.

It appears that the Villars brought to life the defunct Manila Brickworks out of nowhere to act as the original owner of the contested land. Fake Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCTs) were produced in connivance with the Malolos Registry of Deeds to show possession of property.

Court records in Bulacan show that Manila Brickworks was originally owned by Puyat Enterprises and had claimed possession of the property in the 70s. Poultry houses were put up by Puyat Enterprises but abandoned the area after some time.

After years of inactivity, Manila Brickworks resurfaced in 1998 with new incorporators that interlocked with those of Capitol Development Bank.

Capitol Bank, which had financial problems attributed to the financial crisis, eventually sold select assets to Yuchengco-led RCBC Savings Bank to pay off some obligations, then was renamed  Optimum Development Bank. (Initially, we reported that Capitol Bank was closed. It was not. – Eds)

In June 2001, Optimum signed a deed of real estate mortgage over the questioned property in favor of BSP to secure Capitol and Manila Brickworks’ unpaid loans.

The conveyance of land titles, coupled with fake ones, from one alleged owner to another, creates different layers that were used as an argument to legitimize property acquisition.

This has been the standard operating procedure of Villar’s lawyers and companies to acquire government and previously awarded lands, according to a lawyer formerly employed by the Nacionalista Party bet.

Pandora’s box of testimony

The man who turned his back on Villar

Lawyer Restituto Mendoza is seeking restitution for his sins of commission and omission as a former employee of Senator Manuel Villar Jr’s. housing empire.

Mendoza has filed a labor complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) for his alleged illegal dismissal after refusing the game that Villar’s senior officers play.

In his complaint, he wrote that he turned a blind eye and deaf ears to the mischief that his employers were getting into and how they get out of trouble. But an unexpected twist of events made him see the light.

He is waging a lonely battle against the billionaire and his senior officers.

His labor complaint is also a tell-all account on how the businesses of Villar acquired land for property development. Read more

The Norzagaray land case is just one of the many legal cases faced by Villar’s real estate empire, which was spawned by the production and sale of affordable houses.

Interviews with different sources and documents show his companies have been fending off legal disputes, mostly land grabbing cases, like the Norzagaray case.

In 2004, Villar hired Atty. Restituto Mendoza to handle problematic raw land cases for Household Development Corp., one of the firms under his real estate empire.

Mendoza has a pending complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission for illegal dismissal. Named respondents were Villar, his flagship real estate firm Vista Land and Lifescapes Inc., Casa Regalia, Adelfa Properties and lawyers and officers of the companies. Newsbreak obtained a copy of the complaint, including other documents.

In the labor case, Mendoza opened the Pandora’s box of irregularities of Villar’s businesses, practices and ethics. It was a tell-all testimony, bordering on violating the lawyer-client privilege, as he accused Villar of bribery, corruption, deceit and fraud in rebuilding his empire from bankruptcy.

Mendoza charged Villar on the ground that he is well aware of the practices of the firms’ senior officers—from paying off government officials and judges to faking titles—to skirt potential legal issues. Mendoza said Villar is a hands-on manager, supposedly even concerned about where to put trash cans in the subdivision projects.

Newsbreak sought to corroborate Mendoza’s serious allegations, which included duping another land developer, Ayala Land, and an alleged attempt to bribe Customs officials to release an undervalued crane imported by his company, MGS Corp. (Details in Part 3 of the series, to be published on April 14.) We found some corroborative documents and information to back up Mendoza’s claims.

Ayala Land, which got questionable titles as in exchange for a previous P300 million loan from a Villar firm, has yet to reply to our query as of this posting. (Read: Imus Estate land key to Villar-Ayala deal)

Customs officials, on the other hand, provided data of the botched importation. (Details in Part 3)

Violation of lawyer-client relationship

Villar’s chief legal officer, Ma. Nalen Rosero-Galang, who has been countering the land grabbing complaints hurled against Villar since the campaign began, dismissed Mendoza’s stories and narration as “all lies.” In an interview with Newsbreak, Galang said she is “shocked of Mendoza’s allegations.”

Galang pointed out that Mendoza took five years to come out and expose the unethical practices of Villar’s businesses.

“I would have wanted to ignore him so as not to dignify his claims,” Galang said in an interview. Besides, she added that Mendoza’s claims would not have been admissible in court since “it violates the lawyer-client relationship.”

“Actually I pity him, since no one would want to hire him as a lawyer after this,” she added.

We also sought to interview Mendoza, but he begged off, saying his complaint would suffice. Mendoza was dismissed in May last year and filed his complaint in August.

The C-5 controversy

In his complaint, Mendoza mentioned some of the properties that benefitted from the controversial C5 road extenstion project. The road traversed through 50-52 hectares of Villar’s property holdings.

Villar’s peers in the Senate conducted ethics committee hearings. In a report, the senators found Villar guilty of conflict of interest when he supposedly benefited from the P6.96 billion road project. A public works feasibility study stated that Villar conceived and funded the project.

Mendoza provided the context in the arrangement between two real estate properties associated with Villar. Masaito Development Corp and Adelfa Properties supposedly swapped properties affected by the C5 road extension.

Based on documents submitted by Mendoza to the NLRC, it was Villar’s Adelfa Properties that initiated the arrangement with Masaito. Adelfa then claimed the bulk of expropriation proceeds from the Masaito property.

The agreement stated Masaito would only get only P7 million while Adelfa would get the remainder, amounting to P15 million.

A total of P168.1 million was paid by the government for the right of way involving Villar’s properties while only P22 million for non-Villar properties.

And yet, based on Mendoza’s claims on the Masaito agreement, through careful planning and foresight, Villar even got proceeds from his supposed non-properties.

Why would Masaito agree to swap properties with Adelfa if it would be paid for the right of way anyway? Was government informed about the swap or was there an attempt to cloak it through internal arrangement?

Internal arrangement

A source familiar with the case said that Villar’s senior officers had anticipated the road extension would pass through the Masaito properties. The properties were raw lands at that time and would have commanded low zonal valuation.

Yet, through connections in the DPWH and the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Masaito property was valued at P30,000 per square meter, a “unique” situation that Adriano told the Senate since it was the only property that commanded that high price.

In the Senate probe, former revenue district officer Carmelita Bacod admitted that the valuation was “grossly disadvantageous to the government.”

The source explained that Masaito knew it would only get a lower zonal valuation and thus, lower payment for its properties, if only government would have its way. Entering into an agreement would be a win-win situation for both Adelfa and Masaito—the former gets a portion of the right of way payment without essentially losing with its property while the latter gets the bulk of the proceeds.

To facilitate the agreement, Masaito and Adelfa signed a memorandum of undertaking (MOU) where they agreed to open a joint bank account at the Landbank where expropriation proceeds would be deposited. Adelfa president Jerry Navarette and Masaito president Joseph Wang would be the joint signatories.

After the first tranche of P22 million has been deposited, of which P7 million would given to Masaito, Adelfa would assume “sole right” of the remainder of the proceeds, the MOU stated. Navarrete would then be the sole signatory of the Landbank account.

Mendoza said it was the C5 controversy that shattered his respect of Villar. He recalled that he was the one who drafted the Masaito agreement upon hearing Senator Jamby Madrigal mentioning the company. “Evidently, Senator Villar was not telling the truth when he had been consistently denying in public that he and his companies never received a single centavo from the C-5 road extension project,” Mendoza said.

In drafting the Masaito-Adelfa agreement, Mendoza said he “unknowingly had been an instrument of corruption in what is now the C5 road scandal.”

In his Feb. 2 speech before the Senate to rebut the ethics, Villar maintained that he did not financially benefit from the C5 project. “Wala po akong ninakaw sa kaban ng bayan. Wala po akong kasalanan, wala pong anomalya sa C5 project at hindi po ako nakinabang,” Villar said. – With reports and additional research from Althea Teves and Purple Romero,

Villar Took Our Land – Tribesmen

We want to link to the original article but we get a 404 now. It seems that many news articles about the protest are gone now. Why is that?

by People’s Journal

Wednesday, 17 March 2010 19:51

DUMAGAT tribesmen who accused Sen. Manny Villar of grabbing their ancestral lands yesterday held a protest rally in front of the Central Bank and the Laurel Mansion in Mandaluyong City that serves as the campaign headquarters of the Nacionalista Party.

After a long march from Norzagaray, Bulacan to Metro Manila, the farmers claimed that they lost their lands due to the manipulative acts of Villar, presidential bet of the NP.

They picketed in front of the Central Bank to protest the continued disregard by concerned government offices especially the Office of the Ombudsman and Central Bank of the cases they filed against Villar and his wife Cynthia.

“Nananawagan kami para sa mabilis at agarang pag-resolba ng Office of the Ombudsman hinggil sa isinampa naming kaso laban kay Sen.Villar, sa kanyang asawa na si Cynthia at iba pa nilang mga kasapakat sa pang-aagaw sa aming mga minanang lupain,” said Valentino Amador, one of the protest leaders.

On Tuesday, the victims marched from the Department of Agrarian Reform to the Office of the Ombudsman where they demanded immediate resolution of the complaints that they filed against Villar.

They then went to the offices of broadcast giants Channel 2 and 7 to solicit their support for their fight. Afterwards, they went to the NP headquarters to denounce Villar.

They decided to continue their protest march to the Central Bank because it is where Villar and his group reportedly mortgaged their 480 hectares land for P1.5 billion.

They said that they will continue to hold a picket rally in front of CB until they receive concrete commitment and support from the agency.

“Lumalabas kasi na walang pakialam ang Central bank sa aming sinapit at ang importante sa kanila ay ang perang kinita nila bunga ng mapanlinlang na transaksyon na pinasok sa kanila ni Villar,” explained Sergio Cruz, a chieftain of the Dumagat tribe.

The Capitol Development Bank which was owned by the Villar couple and Manila Brickworks, Inc. conspired to mortgage the victims’ properties before the CB using spurious papers and documents.

However, Villar and his group however failed to pay the loans, thus, BSP foreclosed the mortgage and finally acquired the lands in a public auction.

At the time the loans were contracted, Villar was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gina Jarvina, one of the aggrieved landowners, said they learned about the manipulative acts of the Villars when BSP personnel visited their area.

Jarvina and Amador filed plunder and graft complaints against the Villars and their accomplices before the Office of the Ombudsman on Sept. 26, 2008. The cases remain pending.

Black ballot boxes smells fishy

As opaque as the black ballot box
The Daily Tribune

First it was a sturdy yellow ballot box with a small glass opening that was used in past elections.

Later, with the advent of automated polls, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) claimed that the old yellow ballot boxes will be replaced by new transparent plastic ballot boxes. The reason given then by the Comelec was that ballots being placed inside the box would be seen by all.

Just the other day, the Comelec showed media a new black ballot box, saying that management had decided to make a switch at the last minute. The reason given by the Comelec officials for the black plastic box with small “translucent” windows is that the ultra-violet markings in the ballots cannot be exposed to sunlight, hence the black plastic ballot box switch.

One wonders, however: What’s the difference between the old type of yellow ballot boxes and the now black boxes? The old ballot box, which was made of sturdier metal, could have then kept the UV markings in the ballots safe — if indeed such is the truth in the poll body’s reason, although this is gravely doubted, as UV technology is certainly more sophisticated in the matter of its fading under sunlight, which incidentally won’t be direct sunlight.

Why then replace this yellow ballot box type with a black plastic ballot box that looks more like a garbage bin?

Then too, it must be asked: If the alleged fading of the UV markings in the ballots is the real reason for the switch, was this UV problem not tackled when the Comelec came up and showed the media the model of the clear plastic ballot box?

Either both the Comelec and Smartmatic, which is the supplier of the ballot boxes, are so incompetent not to have known about this claimed UV problem when the model of the clear plastic ballot box was then decided on and announced to the public, or more money is being made somewhere by coming up with the black ballot box model. Or, maybe, the decision for the switch has some hidden electoral agenda., like cheating.

It will be recalled that the incompetent and clueless Comelec never included in the contract with the winning consortium the manufacture of the new plastic ballot boxes, even as the Comelec kept on talking about having new ballot boxes for the ballots from clustered precincts to fit.

Much, much later, there went Smartmatic, that has never been fined by the Comelec for the many delays in the shipment of the automated counting machines, saying that the contract for the manufacture of the plastic ballot boxes has not been signed, and that there was a deadline for it, otherwise, the price of the ballot box would have to be increased.

For a time, Comelec remained silent on this ballot box contract. And even up to today, the Comelec has not made public the price of the then transparent plastic ballot box.

For that matter, the Comelec still has not made public what the contract price for the manufacture of these black ballot boxes, as against the clear ballot boxes, is.

And the poll commissioners claim to be practicing transparency? They are as opaque as the black plastic ballot boxes they decided on using.

The thing is, the Comelec has never come clean with the electorate, through the Congress, right from the start. It has been altering the terms and conditions of the contract with Smartmatic-TIM, such as no longer coming up with the P7 million a day fine for every day of the delay in the machines. No matter the glitches and snags in the machines, Comelec still insists nothing but nothing is wrong with them. Even in the claim of having 50,000 IT experts has now undergone a change, with the claim now transformed into fielding some 50,000 IT capable, which really translates to just about anybody who can write on a computer, even if that person is computer-illiterate in the sense of trouble shooting.

Then there is too, the recent baring by the National Printing Office of the lack of the NPO’s UV markings in the 2 million ballots printed for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, which the Comelec dismissed, saying that the UV markings from the NPO were unnecessary since the poll body, along with Smartmatic, had their own security markings, which would be a fail-safe mode to know whether the ballots are genuine or fake.

Now the Comelec makes this UV security markings a big reason for the switch to the black ballot box?

Something really smells fishy in the Comelec. After all, despite the box being padlocked three times over, it is still plastic that can easily be knifed, apart from the fact that the new ballot box, being plastic, can easily be manufactured by the cheats.

A reader complains about Villar bias during voters' education

From Carlo N. of Pasig City:

Good afternoon!

Please see the attached pictures that I was able to take of a flyer distributed to Senior Citizens when they attended a training on the Automated Elections conducted by COMELEC Pasig in Baranggay Dela Paz yesterday. My grandmother attended the training and it was she who gave me this flyer.

Villar bias
Page 1 (click to enlarge)
Villar bias
Page 2 (click to enlarge)
Villar bias
Zoomed in (click to enlarge)

If we examine Page 2 and the Zoomed In versions, we can see a glimpse of a possible bias. The first troubling sign is that the sample ballot contains only 3 Presidentiables: JC Delos Reyes, Nicanor Perla and Manny Villar. The second and perhaps more glaring possible indication of a problem is that Manny Villar’s name is bold and gigantic compared to the other 2 names.  According to my grandmother, there is a poster-sized version of the pamphlet that was used during the training and the poster showed the same illustration where Manny Villar’s name more than necessarily figures prominently. One of the participating senior citizens, a neighbor of ours, then raised this matter and she asked why Villar is the only name in giant, bold face to the cheering applause of the crowd. The instructors who introduced themselves as from COMELEC merely laughed and said something along the lines of “Wala namang pulitika-pulitika po rito.”

We are not sure how widespread this is going on because the seal on Page 2 shows the Seal of the City of Pasig.  So we are uncertain if the materials used in other places are similar to this one. I’m not sure if they should have just used a list with hypothetical names such as “Juan Dela Cruz” to avoid bias.

The event was held at around 10AM in the Covered Courts of the Dreamhomes Subdivision in Baranggay Dela Paz, Pasig City. It was organized by the Senior Citizens’ organization whose local chapter president is Pedro Mendoza. There were many participants which is probably why a large venue was chosen. My grandmother and all of her elderly friends from the neighborhood comprised of Bartville Subdivision, Dreamhomes Subdivision and neighboring developments were all in attendance. When the Senior Citizens arrived in the venue, the Election Speakers were not yet present. The meeting organizers from the Senior Citizens’ Organization discussed a number of unrelated items in their agenda. My grandmother reported that they ran through the agenda quickly so that they would finish in time for the arrival of the Automated Election Trainers. When the trainers arrived, the Senior Citizen organizers said, “Ito na ang mga taga-Comelec.”  There were 2 trainers, both men. One was elderly while the other, not so. They were aided by assistants who set up the props and distributed materials.  The flyers were distributed before the speakers began. Aside from the flyers, there was a large flipchart that was a larger version of the flyers.  When the training reached the point where the name of Manny Villar beside 2 smaller names was shown, one of the participants, Soledad Reyes, raised the question, “Bakit si Manny Villar ang nakasulat dyan?”  Then another participant whom my grandmother does not remember anymore said, “Marami naman kayong puedeng gamiting pangalan.  Puedeng Juan Dela Cruz.  Paano kung may Senior Citizen na mahina na ang pag-iisip at ginaya lang ang ginawa nyo (pagpili kay Manny Villar)?”  The trainers responded, “Kami naman po eh hindi namumulitika dito.

Flap over security mark downplayed

Flap over security mark downplayed
By Leila Salaverria, Kristine L. Alave
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Elections (Comelec) Monday downplayed the absence of an ultraviolet security mark on 1.8 million ballots for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), saying they contained other safety features.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that without the safeguards, the ballots would not be read by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines to be used in the balloting.

He said that the ultraviolet mark of the National Printing Office (NPO) was a “redundancy.”

“The NPO security marks are simply an additional safeguard. They are not critical to the security or the veracity of the ballots,” Jimenez said.

He said five security features were incorporated in all ballots: The unique paper, the unique precinct-based numbers, the ultraviolet ink from Comelec, the bar code and the Comelec markings.

Philippine Daily Inquirer sources in the NPO earlier voiced concerns at the absence of the NPO mark on the ARMM ballots which, poll watchdogs said, could be used to commit electoral fraud.

The Comelec has completed the printing of the ARMM ballots, and is now printing the ballots to be used for the rest of the country. The ARMM ballot is longer than the other ballots because of the Arabic translations.

The non-ARMM ballots will have the NPO ultraviolet mark, but Jimenez said this was just a redundancy.

“There are security marks on the [ARMM] ballot, just not all of the available security marks,” Jimenez said in a press conference.

Asked why the NPO mark was included in the non-ARMM ballots if this was not critical, Jimenez said it was because the NPO had requested it.

“I guess to be true to their mandate just in case they get asked later on… but ultimately, it’s not necessary,” he said.

Last-minute proposal

Jimenez said that the Comelec was unable to include the ultraviolet mark because the NPO made the proposal shortly before the start of the printing.

He said the NPO had initially proposed to put a 2D barcode, which was more complicated and would require testing by its independent certification authority. This test would have delayed the printing by days or weeks. The plan was later abandoned, and the NPO agreed to just include its own UV mark.

Since the NPO mark was not critical, the printing office and the poll body agreed to go ahead with the printing of the ARMM ballots with only the Comelec security marks present.

Election Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal said that the NPO had asked to put its own mark on the ballot so that it could authenticate them in the event of protests.

But he said that in automated elections, there was a way to determine if the ballots were fake since the counting machines would reject them.

Jimenez said the presence of the machines made the requirements for the authentication of the ballots different. The NPO mark is not the only thing that could determine if a ballot is real or not, he said.

“We have a new system of authenticating the ballots and that’s why although it’s good to have the second set of NPO security marks, they are a redundancy. They are an extra layer of security but ultimately, what will decide the authenticity of the ballot is not that extra layer but what the Comelec has indicated should be there as security marks,” he said.

‘Pressed for time’

NPO Director General Servando Hizon Monday confirmed that the Comelec allowed the printing of the ballots for the ARMM without the NPO marks, despite the NPO’s insistence to include it, because it was “pressed for time.”

The NPO mark had alignment problems that could affect the reading of the PCOS machine, Hizon said.

As this was discovered only a day before the ballots were scheduled to be printed on Feb. 7, there was no time for the mark to be tested by Smartmatic-TIM Corp., the automated elections provider, he noted.

The former police general appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the post last year said the NPO agreed that the ballots be printed without their seal because the Comelec assured them that there were enough security features on the ballots already.

“There is enough protection in it,” Hizon added, stressing that the ballots cannot be duplicated.

Hizon also dismissed allegations that the ballots would be used to manipulate the results in the ARMM, which has earned recognition as the country’s ground zero of electoral fraud and cheating.

“We will not be used as a tool in any anomalous electoral transaction,” he said.

LP looking into poll fraud plot – Noynoy

LP looking into poll fraud plot – Noynoy
The Philippine Star
February 23, 2010

MARILAO, Bulacan , Philippines  – The Liberal Party is looking into a reported plot to cheat in the May 10 elections.

Speaking to reporters, LP standard bearer Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III said reports indicate a plan to “influence the outcome of the elections,” but he declined to elaborate.

He said they were gathering evidence of the alleged plot, but declined to give details.

Speaking at a rally, Aquino asked his supporters to campaign for him and his running mate, Sen. Manuel Roxas II, to widen their lead and make cheating impossible.

His 11 percent lead over Nacionalista Party standard bearer Manuel Villar Jr. based on the latest survey should be “20 percent or better, 30 percent,” he added.

Aquino said the LP would rely on volunteers to help protect their votes.

The LP does not have the money to buy votes and perpetrate fraud, he added.

Aquino met over 100 volunteers, including 18 provincial coordinators of the newly organized PiNoy Lawyers, which held its first general assembly in Pasig last Saturday.

Former defense secretary Avelino Cruz Jr. Cruz heads the LP vote protection efforts, Aquino said.

He expressed concern over reports quoting poll watchdog Kontra-Daya that at least two million ballots for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao were printed without security features.

“The security marks have been a constant feature for so many past elections,” he said.

“They should take responsibility for that, to send a message that they (Comelec) will not tolerate such actions.”

Roxas said it was highly unusual how the printing machines bogged down when printing the ARMM ballots from Feb. 7 to 15, and then started working again in printing the next batch of ballots.

The LP would not tolerate any cheating in the elections, he added.

Roxas chided the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for its indifference to the blunder.

It should have insisted on the reprinting of the ballots instead of allowing Smartmatic-TIM to simply put ultraviolet signs on the ballots as security marks, he added.

Roxas said without the necessary security markings, it would now be easy to duplicate the ARMM ballots by simply using the right printer and paper.

“We all have to be vigilant,” he said.

“This administration will do everything to prevent the forces of change from prevailing in the elections.”

In previous elections, fake ballots were given to voters and those with security markings were filled up by flying voters and used in the counting of votes in some ARMM provinces, Roxas said.

The ARMM has 1,731,199 voters, or 3.4 percent of the country’s total of 50,723,734 million registered voters.

Meanwhile, Aquino said if elected president, he would make public the Mayuga report, which refers to the findings of a panel tasked to look into alleged cheating in the 2004 elections.  – Aurea Calica