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Filipino Americans Ask US to Monitor Philippine Elections

GMANews.TV, Joseph G. Lariosa Posted: Mar 13, 2010

WASHINGTON D.C.Expressing concerns that the general elections in the Philippines this coming May will be clean, fair and credible," a Filipino-American delegation has asked the U.S. government to send a team to observe the polls, which is also geared to become the countrys first nationwide automated elections.

The seven-member delegation, led by lawyer and business leader Loida Nicolas Lewis, met with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on March 10 to voice doubts that the coming elections will run smoothly.

Lewis asked Clinton to recommend to President Barack Obama to send an observer team similar to that headed by U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar in the 1986 Philippine Snap Presidential Elections."

Lugar, still a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, led a team composed of incumbent Sen. John Kerry, now the current chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and some 30 others who observed the elections ordered by then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

The team reported widespread cheating, fraud and abuse during those elections.

In an audience with Clinton in the U.S. State Department for over two hours, Lewis, a New York-based philanthropist who used to own a food and beverage conglomerate, said the energy crisis in the Philippines could imperil the conduct of the first automated elections.

Lewis told Clinton that in the possibility of a failure of elections, the Philippine government may place the entire country under a state of emergency" based on media reports.

Clinton commented that she will take the groups concerns very seriously."

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