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On electoral protest; Bongbong to PET: Allow me to show proofs of anomaly

TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines — Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday challenged the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to allow him to present his “volumes of evidence” to prove that there were anomalies and fraud during the 2016 elections, of which he lost to now Vice President Leni Robredo.

"Dapat i-priotize na ito ng Tribunal ng Supreme Court dahil, one way or another, panalo o matalo, hindi puwedeng ibitin ang taong bayan na hindi malaman kung ano talaga ang tunay na boto sa nakaraang halalan,” Bongbong told the local in a press conference.

“And I have to tell you that, during our investigation in preparation for the electoral protest, ang dami naming nakitang mga amonaliya, illegal sa nakaraang halalan. That is why it is worth the time for the PET to allow us to present our evidences to show what were the weaknesses in our electoral system," said Bongbong, who attended the 4th year commemoration of the Yolanda tragedy in Tacloban City.

Bongbong also expressed dismay on what he described as delaying tactics by the PET, instead of picking up the pace in the handling of his protest, the soonest possible time, against Robredo.

“It has been one year and six months after the last elections,” and, only yesterday while he was in Tacloban, he bared that Smartmatic had also joined in the bidding for the 2019 elections.

"Ang aming inaalala ang Smartmatic nagbi-bid uli ngayon para sila na naman ang magpapatakbo sa 2019 elections. Kung makita ninyo ang nakita ko, sa pag-imbistiga namin sa nangyari sa 2010, 2013, and 2016 elections, ay dapat ang mga taga Smartmatic na yan ay makulong lahat yan. But they are now trying to come back," the former presidential son added.

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The PET earlier junked Bongbong’s first cause of action, seeking to nullify Robredo’s proclamation as winner in the 2016 vice presidential race.

He then demanded for a recount of ballots from 27 provinces and the nullification of votes in the provinces of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao, where he insisted the results were “rigged.”

He assured the people of Region 8 and in other parts of the country—where he won but declared defeated “through the irregularities in the last administration” — that their votes will be accounted for through his protest now pending before the PET.

On the cost of a recount, the Comelec ordered Bongbong to pay for the fees, claiming that under the precautionary protected order (PPO) issued by the PET, upon his request, it is bound to preserve and safeguard the integrity of the ballots and other election materials in question, from more than 92,000 clustered precincts.

The Comelec insisted that it could not bring the ballots back to its main office in Manila from their safekeeping posts abroad, a matter that entails additional costs.

But the PET rejected the Comelec’s argument, saying the PPO did not prohibit the poll body from transferring the ballots and other materials to Manila. “It was merely required to preserve and safeguard their integrity, and what it can do is just to ask the court for their return to Manila,” it said.

Thus, Bongbong wanted the PET to order the Comelec to take out those kept ballots from abroad and bring these back to Manila where he could show these as his evidences of fraud and anomalies. (FREEMAN)

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