Bongbong files poll protest vs Robredo

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - June 30, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday filed an election protest before the Supreme Court as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), questioning his loss in the vice presidential race to Leni Robredo.

In a 1,000-page petition, Marcos asked the PET to set aside the oath-taking of Robredo scheduled this noon and to declare him as the duly elected and rightful vice president.

Marcos questioned the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five cities involving some nine million votes.

He lost to Robredo by a slim margin of 263,473 votes in the final and official tally. He garnered 14,155,344 votes while Robredo got 14,418,817.

Claiming massive cheating, Marcos sought the nullification of about a million votes cast in three provinces – Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

“There were many witnesses and affidavits that came out. We have complete documentary and testimonial evidence,” he said in a press conference after filing the protest.

“The cheating was so blatant. We’re doing this for the millions whose votes were not counted,” he stressed.

Marcos believes his protest would be resolved by the PET faster than previous election protests regarding the vice presidential elections.

“I believe the PET will not take long to resolve this case because we have plenty of evidence and we have taken a different approach,” he stressed.

The camp of Robredo welcomed yesterday the filing of an election protest against her by Marcos.     

“We welcome it. At least, it was filed in the proper forum, instead of being ventilated in the media,” Robredo’s spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said in a television interview.

She said Marcos should present new and strong evidence to support his allegations of cheating.

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) was unfazed over the electoral protest filed by Marcos before the PET.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia said this would resolve Marcos’ allegation that he was cheated of victory by Robredo. 

“The filing of the case will give an opportunity for all parties to really prove or disprove the allegation. The filing of the protest is part of the electoral process, questioning the results is part of the electoral process,” he added.  

Marcos also asked the PET to order the reopening of ballots and manual recount of about eight million votes in 23 provinces and five cities.

Marcos also sought annulment of the proclamation of Robredo as vice president and his declaration as duly elected vice president.

Accompanied by his son Sandro, lawyers led by George Garcia and hundreds of supporters, Marcos personally filed the protest and submitted before the SC about 20,000 pages of documents and evidence to bolster his protest.

Marcos said he would attend the inauguration of president-elect Rodrigo Duterte today and that he is also willing to accept appointment to a Cabinet position.

Garcia explained that they have gathered evidence to prove that allies of Robredo resorted to a series of electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities to reduce votes for Marcos and make sure that the Liberal Party bet would win.

“The votes presumptively obtained by protestee Robredo during the last elections are products of electoral frauds, anomalies and irregularities. Meanwhile, the votes obtained by protestant Marcos were significantly reduced, manipulated and altered to make it appear that he only placed second during the last elections,” read the petition.

Garcia said the alleged poll fraud involved three parts – the flawed system; the traditional modes of cheating like vote buying, pre-shading, intimidation and failure of elections, among others; and the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code or script program into the transparency server as well as the effects brought about by the unauthorized change.

Marcos alleged that based on numerous testimonial and documentary evidence, they were able to establish several violations committed by both the Comelec and Smartmatic, service provider of the vote counting machines. 

Marcos also pointed out that during the election period the voting public was made to believe that all electoral data were received by three servers from the vote counting machines and this was secured by digital signatures and coded ‘end riptide’.

Roberdo’s spokesperson said Marcos should desist from conditioning the minds of the people that Robredo cheated him.

Hernandez said Robredo won the vice presidency fair and square.

“The counting of votes by the National Board of Canvassers went through the proper process. The votes were validated. Our own numbers, reflected in our copies of the certificates of canvass and election returns, jibe with the results of the official count by Congress,” she stressed.

The runningmate of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II beat Marcos by a narrow margin.

Marcos claims that he was robbed of three million votes.

“These were the under-votes, null votes and voided votes,” he told a recent news conference.

He said the fact that his one million-vote lead over Robredo in the early hours of the unofficial count on May 9 was wiped out in the morning of the next day was proof that he was cheated.

Robredo’s camp retorted that “under-voting” means that a voter votes for a presidential candidate and does not choose a vice president, and vice versa.

In other words, there is no vote, and Marcos has therefore no basis to claim the under-votes as his, it said.

As for the disappearance of Marcos’ early unofficial tabulation lead, it said this happened when votes from Robredo’s bailiwicks were transmitted and included in the tally. - With Perseus Echeminada, Jess Diaz, Helen Flores, Sheila Crisostomo

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