The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday lashed at Vice President Leni Robredo for opposing the call of President Rodrigo Duterte for the Commission on Elections to dump technology provider Smartmatic and instead look for a new one not tainted with involvement in electoral fraud.
Marcos’ lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez also criticized Robredo and Comelec spokesman James Jimenez for defending Smartmatic, despite numerous complaints against the Venezuelan technology provider, particularly the efficiency of its vote counting machines where several hundreds of its VCMs malfunctioned during the canvassing of votes for the May 13 midterm elections.
“Why is the Comelec and Mrs. Robredo so in love with Smartmatic? How much do they love Smartmatic?” Rodriguez said.
On Sunday, the vice president urged the Comelec to exercise caution on the proposal of President Duterte to terminate its partnership with Smartmatic.
According to her, the Comelec should be allowed to explain before politicians make sweeping allegation of election fraud in the May 13 national elections.
“We should not say just because our candidates lost, they were cheated. Let them explain the matter to us first. If the explanation is acceptable, that would be it. If it is not acceptable to us, that’s the time we complain. But we should be calm,” Robredo said.
The Marcos camp lamented that Robredo’s opposition to the dismantling of the Comelec-Smartmatic partnership was clearly an open disrespect to the sentiments of Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza who both supported President Duterte’s call for the Comelec to dump Smartmatic in favor of what they described as “hybrid election” where manual count will be conducted at precinct level to address the issue of “lack of transparency” arising from the use of Smartmatic’s VCMs.
Last week, the President urged the Comelec to end its partnership with Smartmatic following widespread complaints about its efficiency and capability to maintain the integrity of the elections in the country.
The President said the numerous complaints and allegations of electoral fraud in midterm elections created a ‘hostile attitude’ towards Smartmatic.
“I would like to advise the Comelec, now, I wouldn’t wait anymore, dispose of Smartmatic and look for a new one that is free of fraud,” Duterte said.
Marcos has a pending electoral protest against Robredo before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal seeking to nullify her proclamation as the duly elected vice president in the 2016 elections due to allegation of widespread election irregularities.