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Protesters decry Marcos-Duterte win, poll-related anomalies

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Protesters decry Marcos-Duterte win, poll-related anomalies
Protesters assemble in front of CCP grounds for the Black Friday Protest. Police personnel block their entry to PICC for the COMELEC Canvassing, Friday, May 13.
Philstar.com / Jazmin Tabuena

MANILA, Philippines — Voters gathered near the Philippine International Convention Center to protest the apparent win of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. and Sara Duterte-Carpio, as well as the alleged election irregularities that cast doubt on the conduct of the May 9 polls.

Marcos clinched a landslide victory in Monday’s divisive polls with more than 31.1 million votes based on unofficial tally of partial results. His win caps the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang and the rehabilitation of the family brand nearly 40 years after the clan patriarch was ousted by the People Power Revolution.

His running mate and presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio, also won the vice presidential race by a wide margin.

Hundreds of protesters—including martial law survivors and young people—wore black clothes and held placards reading “Reject Marcos-Duterte” and “Never Again, Never Forget” as they expressed their fears that the presumptive president and vice president will replicate their fathers' authoritarian regimes.

“It is morally and politically unacceptable for us in the human rights community, for victims of human rights violations during the time of Marcos, especially during the time of Duterte, to accept this kind of tandem because this is like another six years of the combined threats of tyranny and authoritarianism,” said Tinay Palabay, secretary general of rights watchdog Karapatan.

“The human rights crisis in our country will worsen because they have the legacies of their fathers to protect and uphold. At the same time, they said their policies will be similar to their father’s policies. I don’t think there will be departure from that track and that is what is fearsome,” she added.

Disinformation on social media shaped the country’s elections, experts said. According to fact checking initiative Tsek.ph, Marcos is the biggest beneficiary of positive but false information on social media. Meanwhile, his archrival, Vice President Leni Robredo, is the biggest victim of disinformation.

“Walang kasalanan ang 31 million na bumoto kay Marcos. Di sila ang tunay na kaaway natin. Ang tunay na kaaway ay ang mga manloloko, mga nagpipilit ng kanilang sariling naratibo sa kasaysayan,” Kontra Daya convenor Danilo Arao said during the protest.

(The 31 million people who voted for Marcos are not at fault. They are not our enemy. Our real enemies are those who deceive people, those who push for their own narratives.)

Protesters settled at Pedro Bukaneg Street in the Cultural Center of the Philippines complex amid heightened presence of Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard personnel near the PICC, which serves as the Comelec’s headquarters for this year’s elections.

Election woes

Some voters, including human rights lawyer and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares, questioned the speed of the transmission of votes to the poll body’s count, particularly since the election day saw thousands of vote counting machine malfunctions and other glitches.

“Blitzkrieg ‘yung elections. (The elections are like blitzkrieg). Fastest and largest number,” Colmenares said.

“Maraming iregularidad, maraming palpak sa ginawa ng Comelec, maraming disinformation na 'di pinigilan, maraming vote buying na hindi inimbestigahan, red-tagging na hinahayaang mamayagpag…Yung mga tao dito gustong managot ang Comelec sa mga iregularidad na iyon,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes also said.

(There are a lot of irregularities, there are many failures from Comelec, a lot of disinformation that was not prevented, a lot of vote buying incidents that were not investigated, and red-tagging incidents that were allowed to happen… The people want to hold Comelec accountable for those irregularities.)

Kontra Daya’s Arao called for an investigation of anomalies and technical difficulties that cast doubt on the sanctity of elections, blacklist software provider Smartmatic, and investigate Comelec.

In response to protests alleging poll cheating, Comelec John Rex Laudiangco said that all of the poll body’s proceedings have been transparent since the beginning “to show what we’re doing is in accordance with laws and rules.”

“We could proudly state that no cheating happened,” Laudiangco said in a press briefing.

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