The Commission on Elections should investigate the reports of cheating in Lanao del Sur, the Palace said Thursday.
As the transmission of election returns comes to a close, a video began making the rounds online purportedly showing cheating in Lanao del Sur.
“The Comelec should investigate that. That’s their turf,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
The video, posted on Twitter, showed a man shading the top part of several ballots.
“If they were able to do this, I’m sure others also did this in different areas. This election was a joke,” the Twitter user said.
Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body would not dismiss the video out of hand.
“It would probably not the best idea to dismiss this video out of hand. Again, obviously, there’s nothing in the video that proves anything except whatever being shown is being done, but there’s no context to it,” Jimenez said in a press conference Thursday afternoon.
“We don’t know when it happened, why it happened, who did it, where they did it, who uploaded it, why was it removed after being uploaded. There’s a lot of questions that need to be answered. Still, it’s not right to dismiss it,” he continued.
“That’s still very suspicious activity,” Jimenez added.
“A little sobriety is probably not out of place in this particular case,” he said.
Opposition politicians slammed the results, saying the “Duterte magic” was based on the administration’s control over the Comelec and widespread vote buying and intimidation.
But the Palace has urged the opposition and critics to “yield to the resounding voice of the electorate” and accept the majority vote.
Jimenez on Thursday also denied accusations that the Comelec was negligent in reminding voters not to overvote—or picking more candidates that are allowed.
Jimenez’s remark came after an online report said 1.7-million votes were overvotes in the Senate races.
But Jimenez said these votes would not have been counted.
“If it’s true that there are over a million overvotes, then it’s a million votes not counted. Haven’t we said, again and again, if you overvote, it will not be counted. I would not say wasted. I would say forfeited,” Jimenez said in an interview.
In Monday’s polls, a voter was expected to vote for only 12 candidates in the senatorial race.
But Jimenez said they have no data on the report that there were more than one million overvotes recorded.
“We don’t have such data yet. But we will look into what their source documents are,” he added.
Meanwhile, Jimenez noted that disqualification cases pending before the poll body will be resolved.
He said that such cases will not be automatically deemed as moot and academic even if the elections are over.
Among the petitions that have been filed before the poll body are to deny due course and/or nullify certificates of candidacy against former Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and his wife, Taguig City Mayor Lani Cayetano, who ran for congressmen of the First and Second Districts of the said City, respectively. With PNA