A CIVIL society leader and a former governor of Basilan on Thursday said 90 percent of the official ballots in the province were pre-shaded in favor of candidates Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
“What happened in the province of Basilan was not an election but a selection,” said former congressman Gerry Salappudin, who spoke at a press conference with civil society leader Pastor Saycon to present what they called the smoking gun of massive electoral fraud in the May 9 national elections.
At the press conference, Saycon and Salappudin also presented sworn statements from members of the Iglesia ni Cristo, who said their votes were for Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for president and Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for vice president were not counted, because the precincts in which they voted showed zero votes for the two candidates.
Both said that massive cheating robbed the electorate of their right to suffrage.
Salappudin said Liberal Party “fraudsters” got together on the evening before Election Day and filled up 90 percent of the ballots in favor of the administration candidates, leaving only 10 percent of the ballots available for voting the next day.
Salappudin said about 90,000 people were not able to vote because of this scheme in the Basilan municipalities of Akbar, Tuburan, Albarka, Sumisip and Maluso.
He added that in the cities of Isabela and Lamitan, there was massive vote-buying, with votes going for P700 up to P2,000.
“I am here to voice the frustration of our people; to condemn the disenfranchisement of our people and to convey this message to our new President Rodrigo Duterte requesting that he cleanse our electoral system [and come up with] sweeping electoral reform, change the automated elections to such that it can no longer be corrupted in the future so that our democratic system, which is the election, can be safeguarded,” he said.
He said there was really a conspiracy among “the people in power” to manipulate the results of the election.
“What happened in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is really a conspiracy to rob the electorate in the ARMM of their constitutional rights of suffrage just... to favor the Liberal party candidates from the top to bottom,” Salappudin said.
Saycon, who represented the Council on Philippine Affairs (Copa) civil society group, said the elections were both dirty and dishonest.
He showed reporters affidavits of individuals, but not their names, who claimed to have witnessed that the “papers” in the voting centers were pre-shaded and prepared and no elections were actually held.
Saycon read part of one of the affidavits, which says: “It was clear to me that the shading of the ballots were done prior to the opening of the polls at six ‘o clock in the morning. I have called the attention of the BEI [Board of Election Inspectors] chairman but she just ignored me.”
Saycon said the entries for Roxas and Robredo were all shaded.
He also disclosed that in one precinct in Quezon City, some members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo complained because Duterte got zero votes, as did presidential candidate Jejomar Binay and vice presidential candidate Marcos.
“The 28 Iglesia members complained about why there were zero votes when they had cast their votes in that precinct,” Saycon said.
The INC endorsed Duterte and Marcos ahead of Election Day.
Saycon said he planned to talk with the INC, Brother Eddie Villanueva of the Jesus Is Lord movement, and Brother Mike Velarde of the El Shaddai to make them aware of the massive cheating.
The statements of Saycon and Salappudin corroborated those of two members of the Alyansang Duterte-Bongbong (Aldub) who revealed several incidents of electoral fraud in Basilan in the recently concluded elections.
Victor Abillo and Abdurasad Teodoro, provincial coordinators of Aldub in Basilan, said their watchers in the municipalities in the province reported to them that many voters were prevented from casting their votes by armed men who controlled the precincts.
In many of these areas, he pointed out, all the presidential and vice presidential candidates except the tandem of Roxas and Robredo—had zero votes.
Abillo and Teodoro said three other witnesses could attest that indeed no voting was done in many parts of Basilan. They said the witnesses refused to speak for fear of reprisal but said they were willing to execute sworn affidavits if required to do so.
Abillo also presented the sworn affidavit of a winning councilor, Amina Muarip, who stated that she and her supporters were prevented from voting in Barangay Candiis in Hadji Mohammad Ajul in Basilan by LP supporters.
In the first day of the official canvass in Congress, a large number of undervotes in the vice presidential race was discovered.
Lawyer George Garcia, counsel for Marcos, noted that from the Certificates of Canvass that the joint canvassing committee of the National Board of Canvassers has opened so far, a huge difference in the votes cast for the position of president and vice president was evident.
Garcia said votes cast for president outnumbered those cast for vice president by 623,174 in some of the COCs.
When the official canvass was suspended at 9:26 p.m. Wednesday, a total of 48 COCs had been opened, but only 45 were officially included in the canvass.
Consideration of three COCs, specifically from the provinces of Laguna, Ilocos Sur, and Davao del Norte, was suspended after discrepancies were found, including missing hash codes and differences in the electronically transmitted COCs.
The joint canvassing committee has ordered the Provincial Board of Canvassers in the three provinces to appear before them to explain the discrepancies.
In the very first COC opened, from Davao Del Norte, there were five electronically transmitted COCs and one physically transmitted COC. However, the first electronically transmitted COC did not conform with the remaining four.
The Marcos camp had earlier raised concern over the undervotes in the vice presidential race, which they discovered in their own quick count. They said the partial results showed an undervote of 3.3 million for the position.
But administration candidate for vice president Robredo played down the issue, saying undervotes for vice president are normal in Philippine elections.
Marcos’ lawyers, however, pointed out that in such a hotly-contested race such a high number of undervotes is unusual and a cause for concern.
Election watchdogs and Information Technology experts had earlier said undervotes don’t usually exceed 1 percent of the total votes cast. In the 2016 elections, this would mean no more than 400,000 undervotes.
Earlier, the Commission on Elections turned down a request from the Marcos camp to have their IT experts audit the automated election system, after it was discovered that a Smartmatic technician had added a new script to the transparency server that was doing the unofficial count.
A Marcos spokesman said they were preparing legal options to push the Comelec to agree to a system audit.
“It is very unfortunate that the Comelec has decided to defer action on the request of Senator Marcos for a systems audit of the transparency and central servers until after the canvassing is concluded. We could not understand how the system audit could affect the official canvass because all election returns have been transmitted and all COCs have been printed out for canvass,” said Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz.
Comelec chairman Andres Bautista said Wednesday the commission en banc has decided to indefinitely defer Marcos’ request to audit the AES.
The National Board of Canvassers started the official canvassing of votes for president and vice president Wednesday.
Liberal Party Rep. Romero Quimbo of Marikina, a members of the NBC, said the next president and vice president could be proclaimed together by Wednesday next week.
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, NBOC’s Senate contigent head, also expressed belief that the NBOC would be able to finish the canvassing and proclaim the winners of the presidential and vice presidential race by next week.
“At this rate—we have finished around 25 percent of the number of COCs (certificates of canvass) and in terms of votes cast, [that’s] around 10 million— we’ll be done by Monday. The proclamation will also be done on Monday because you don’t delay [the process] anymore,” he said.
Pimentel said the proclamation for the president and the vice president would be done jointly, despite the objections of the Marcos camp.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said it is the constitutional duty of the NBOC to canvass the votes.
As of 6:30 p.m., vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos was leading in the official count with 7,106,244 votes; followed by Robredo with 6,747,174; Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, 3,350,777; Senator Francis Escudero, 2,854,720; Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, 390,598; and Senator Gregorio Honasan with 370,541.
For the presidential race, Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte was leading with 8,924,960 votes; followed by Senator Grace Poe with 4,845,741; Roxas with 4,303,583 votes; Vice President Jejomar Binay, 2,482,273; Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, 843,838; and deceased former OFW Family party-list Rep. Roy Señeres, with 11,601. With Macon Ramos-Araneta
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