HAGONOY, Bulacan: The tribal governor and members of the Dumagat tribe in Bulacan were allegedly among the petitioners whose names and signatures found to be falsified in the recall petition against Gov. Wilhemino Sy-Alvarado.
At least 10 tribal members from Dike settlement in Barangay San Lorenzo and another eight to 15 Dumagats from Ipo settlement in Barangay San Mateo, both in Norzagaray, have expressed their contention with the recall after they found out that their names were used in the controversial electoral process.
Martin Francisco, chairman of the Sagip Sierra Madre Environmental Society Inc. (SSMESI), which helps in organizing Dumagat tribes in Bulacan, said the tribes in Dike settlement are from the families of Rapada, Misola, and Maalat, while the names of faked petitioners in Ipo settlement belong to the Samson clan, the family of former Dumagat tribal governor.
In an interview with The Manila Times, Francisco said the Samson family has submitted an affidavit to the election officer of Norzagaray, clarifying that they did not sign the petition calling for recall poll against Alvarado.
Also included in the fake list of petitioners are the incumbent Dumagat tribal governor Salvador Cruz and his family from Hilltop, Norzagaray, Francisco said after he met and communicated with some tribal members involved the issue.
The alleged faked signatures, which is part of the 181,201 names which were invalidated by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Bulacan provincial office because of authenticity issues, were uncovered during the verification of the signatures last March.
A Dumagat, who was in a nearby hospital during the verification last month, was asked by the Comelec verifiers if the listed names were indeed members of the tribe. That Dumagat then asked those listed in the petition if they signed the recall petition and found that these were faked, Martin said.
“The Dumagats don’t usually join that kind of political activity. They said they do not call for a re-election in the province,” Francisco said.
But it is still unclear what the legal plans of the tribal members are in holding the culprits responsible.