Marcos camp questions integrity of May 9 polls
Perseus Echeminada (The Philippine Star) - June 1, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of defeated vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has questioned the integrity of the elections last May 9.

Abakada Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, campaign adviser of Marcos, raised the issue on Monday when the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as the duly elected vice president.

De la Cruz called for a united effort to correct the “infirmities” of the automated election system (AES).

He again cited the change in script of the transparency server that Smartmatic technician Marlon Garcia made without proper authorization from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Marcos earlier claimed that after the script was changed during the vote transmission on the night of May 9, Robredo started to overtake him in the vice presidential race.

Comelec explained that the change was done to correct a typographical error, but De la Cruz said many IT experts disagreed.

He also claimed that Garcia was accused of doing similar unauthorized actions in the 2010 and 2013 elections.

De la Cruz insisted that the Comelec must allow a system audit after the canvassing is over, despite its rejection of Marcos’ request that such an audit be done earlier.

He also noted that the unusually high number of under votes, which reached around 3.5 million, is another issue on the results of the election.

Given Robredo’s slim margin of 260,000 votes against Marcos, De la Cruz said an audit gains more significance “to ensure that no iota of doubt can be handed over to the mandate given to the two top officials of the land.”

“Clearly the system as we know it and as implemented in the past three automated elections by the Comelec and its technology partner, a company now known as ‘Smart magic’ (Smartmatic), has proven to be vulnerable to external interference. It is vulnerable to rigging and manipulations,” he added.

De la Cruz also said the Comelec should answer various questions, including what it has done about reports on alleged vote-buying, such as the incident in Pikit, North Cotabato, the video of which has gone viral in social media.

“Did the Comelec comply with the testing and sealing rules prior to issuing the authority for the system to be operated? I was told there were hosts of issues and concerns that remained unanswered,” he added.

He also cited reports that 30 Consolidation and Canvassing System servers were brought to a Smartmatic warehouse in Sta. Rosa, and what was done to the servers was not reported to the public.

Three IT experts also accused Liberal Party officials of being behind the poll operations to benefit LP standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II, his runningmate Robredo and some senators and members of the House of Representatives.

“Just this morning, three whistle-blowers publicly stated that there was a rogue canvassing center in Quezon, which ostensibly intercepted the results and consolidated the same and spewed these out with controversial results. Again this must be looked into,” De la Cruz said.

Because of all these irregularities, De la Cruz said his camp would urge the new administration not to allow Smartmatic again to take part in the country’s electoral process.

De la Cruz promised that the Marcos camp would prove the accusations at the proper time and forum.

“They may not get the answers now but we will not stand still. We will start to sift the truth and provide the answers to the myriad questions, which had come and continue to come,” he added.

De la Cruz said he still respects the NBOC. – With Helen Flores, Evelyn Macairan

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