SENATOR Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday filed an election protest before the Supreme Court seeking the ouster of incoming vice president Leni Robredo.
A throng of supporters gathered outside the Supreme Court compound as Marcos accompanied by his lawyers and several political allies filed his 1,000 page petition asking the magistrates, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to set aside the proclamation of Leni Robredo and instead declare him the duly elected and rightful vice president of the republic.
Attached in his petitioner were 20,000 pages of affidavits, certificates of canvass and other supporting documents, which Marcos said would provide clear and convincing evidence of what he called the biggest electoral fraud in the history of the Philippines.
Marcos, through his lawyer George Garcia, said that through a series of electoral frauds, anomalies and irregularities, people behind the whole operation made sure that Robredo would win and that Marcos’ votes would be reduced.
“The votes presumptively obtained by... 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,” the petition stated.
In particular, Marcos is contesting the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five highly urbanized cities all over the country.
Marcos explained that his petition has three parts—the first is the “flawed” automated election system (AES); the second consists of the more “traditional” modes of cheating like vote buying, pre-shading, intimidation and failure of elections; and the third focuses on the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code (or a new script or program) into the Transparency Server as well as the effects brought about by the unauthorized change.
Marcos said based on numerous testimonial and documentary evidence, they were able to establish several violations committed by both the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic.
He said the Comelec and Smartmatic violated Republic Act No. 9369 or the Automated Election System Law, which requires, among others, that the AES to be used by Comelec should “have demonstrated capability and been successfully used in a prior electoral exercise here or abroad.” However, the vote counting machine supplied by Smartmatic as a component of the AES was an entirely new model and had never before been used or supplied by Smartmatic for any election, whether in the Philippines or abroad.
Marcos also noted that 13 days before Election Day, Comelec issued a resolution ordering the boards of canvassers not to transmit the certificate of canvass until all SD cards from the VCMs would have been uploaded or imported into their Consolidation and Canvassing System.
He also said that six days before elections, the Comelec set up seven regional hubs for the reconfiguration of SD cards without prior notice to the political parties and candidates. All this time, the national and local candidates thought that the SD cards were being configured solely at the Configuration Room in the Sta. Rosa facility of the Comelec and Smartmatic.
Instead of being replaced by standby CCS, Marcos said that 30 affected CCSs were pulled out of the BOCs’ custody, and were supposedly delivered to the Sta. Rosa facility for reconfiguration, upon the order of Comelec, through Executive Director Jose M. Tolentino.
He also complained of the unauthorized introduction of a new program into the Transparency Server and the apparent use of a fourth server (called the Queue Server) that was not subject to review by political parties and candidates as required by law.
Marcos said during the election period, the voting public was made to believe that all electoral data were received by the three servers directly from the VCMs and that these were secured by digital signatures and coded encryptions. This was a far cry from what truly happened on Election Day, he said.
“Data had to pass through the fourth server and it was here where the results were encrypted and decrypyted. This being the case, the integrity of the data subsequently received by the CCSs, the Central Server and the Transparency Sever could no longer be relied upon since the purpose of encryption of the data transmission is precisely to prevent any alteration or change,” he said.
He added that soon after the unauthorized new program was introduced at 8:30 p.m. on election day, there appeared to be an abnormally high turn-out of unaccounted undervotes of around three million for the position of vice president.
The accuracy of the election results and the reported irregularities should therefore be thoroughly investigated and determined, Marcos said, through the immediate conduct of a judicial revision or a recount of the ballots and the examination, system audit and verification of the voter’s receipts, election returns and related election documents.
Marcos said he will continue the fight until the truth behind the reports of massive electoral fraud is made public.
“It is my moral and social duty to the Filipino people to expose the truth, and the fraudulent machinations, anomalies and irregularities which attended the recently concluded May 2016 elections, by filing this election protest. I owe it to the 14 million people who voted for me and to the millions of Filipinos whose voices were not heard,” Marcos said.
Robredo welcomed the election protest, saying this would give her the opportunity to answer Marcos’ allegations against her.
“This is part of what we have already been expecting. He has been telling [all] about his plan to file for a long time,” she said.
“It’s good that that he [Marcos] brought out the issue before the proper body. It is difficult if he brings it up before the media, especially social media. We do not have the chance to respond,” she said.
Robredo of the Liberal Party won as vice president with 14,418,817 votes against Marcos, who had 14,155,344 votes. The victory margin was 263,473 votes.
Robredo, through her lawyer Romulo Macalintal, denied Marcos’ accusations of electoral fraud.
Macalintal said the undervotes or null votes did not only occur in the vice presidential race, but in the races for other positions as well.
Elections Commissioner Luie Guia dismissed suggestions that the protest would damage the Comelec’s credibility.
“The filing of a protest is part of electoral process actually. Questioning the results is part of electoral process... that’s how clinical it is,” Guia said.
Guia said that it is the right of Marcos to file an electoral protest if he thinks he was the one who won the vice presidential race.
“The filing of the case will give an opportunity for all parties to really prove or disprove the allegations,” Guia said. With Rio N. Araja, John Paolo Bencito and Vito Barcelo
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