Former Vice President Jejomar Binay on Monday filed a protest against Romulo Peña Jr. in connection with the congressional race in Makati City in the May 13 elections.
In a 70-page electoral protest filed before the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, Binay’s lawyers sought the nullification of Peña’s proclamation as a member of the House of Representatives by the Makati City Board of Canvassers on May 14.
The lawyers asked HRET to conduct a manual recount of the ballots cast and other election documents in all of the 235 protested clustered precincts.
“The Congressional contest was marred by various manifestations of fraud, anomalies, irregularities, and statistical improbabilities. Approximately 9,050 votes were disenfranchised to be Null/Misread Votes, the election protest says.
The lawyers also slammed the many votes allegedly intended for Binay that were unaccounted for as a result of the failure of several vote-counting machines in many clustered precincts to transmit the actual election results.
Peña garnered a total of 71,035 votes against Binay’s 65,229 votes, or a presumptive margin of 5,806 votes, based on the Certificate of Canvass of Votes.
Considering the ‘‘slim margin’’ between their vote counts, the electoral protest said, the votes in the contest were ‘‘crucially determinative’’ of the true Representative of Makati’s first district. ‘‘As it is, the proclamation of [Peña] was based on figures plagued by mysteries, the protest says.
The electoral protest also assailed the alleged failure of the Commission on Elections to provide the complete copies of the certified true copies of Statement of Votes for 85 out of the 235 clustered precincts that functioned during the elections.
The protest contested the election results in each of the 235 clustered precincts, citing several grounds.
Moreover, the protest cited instances when Peña’s camp allegedly manipulated precinct proceedings and were also spotted while engaging in rampant vote-buying.
During the election campaign period and up to the election day itself, Binay and his party had been receiving reports from various sources that the team of Peña had been engaging in vote-buying practices in order to get more votes or to take away votes from him.
The vote-buying perpetrated by Peña’s group involved the payment of P500 to P2,000 to voters for them to vote for their candidate or anyone else but Binay, the protest said.
All these made it difficult to conclude that the May 13, 2019 elections were clean, credible, honest and democratic, the protest says.
“This election protest is not filed out of spite. It is a challenge to uncover the TRUE will of the people, the voters of Makati City.”
The protest says there were too many reports of machine malfunction, voter disenfranchisement and other issues pertaining to widespread fraud to ignore. It pointed out that no less than the President himself, Honorable Rodrigo Duterte, publicly stated his displeasure with the conduct of the 2019 Midterm Elections.
“While the overall objective of the automated elections is to facilitate the swift transmission of election results, this should not divert the electorate of the concerned legislative district and insult the sanctity of the right to suffrage.
“Otherwise, the rampant incidents of electronic glitches of the automated elections may defeat the sacredness of the political exercise that the electorate is given the privilege of. It must be remembered and emphasized that in the present democratic system, leaders shall be determined by the plurality of votes cast by the people and not by the glitches of the VCMs, the protest said.