MEMBERS of the influential Iglesia ni Cristo expressed outrage Tuesday after their votes in Lamitan, Basilan vanished and Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo bagged 100 percent of the votes, leaving her church-supported rival, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., with zero votes.
The church members lambasted President Benigno Aquino III and the ruling Liberals for allegedly “stealing” their votes, noting that the results in a clustered precinct at the Bohenge Elementary School in Lamitan City showed Robredo obtained all 595 votes while all of her contenders, including Marcos, got zero votes.
Robredo’s election lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said he saw nothing wrong with his client garnering 100 percent of the votes.
“There is really a 100-percent voting for any candidate, like Robredo in some areas. That happened in the past elections,” Macalintal said.
But the INC said it was impossible because it has three “locales (churches)” in the area.
INC member and former congressman Rodante Marcoleta, 1Sagip party-list nominee, said the church members were “indoctrinated to follow the church leadership’s decisions in absolute and unconditional obedience.”
Even the camp of Marcos could not believe that their poll watchers did not vote for Marcos.
Thousands of the INC members posted their outrage on Facebook that went viral. Some of the posts were even calling for more mass actions such as barricading the office of the Commission on Elections.
The INC members particularly questioned where the votes for the church-endorsed tandem of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Marcos went.
They said they believed the results of the votes were manipulated in favor of administration candidates Robredo and her running mate Manuel Roxas II.
The INC members called the President and his government “traitors” for robbing them of the votes in favor of his anointed ones.
“The Comelec should explain this [the zero votes for Duterte and Marcos in Bohenge Elementary School in Lamitan City, Basilan]. Now, we are convinced that electoral cheating occurred in Visayas and Mindanao. Where did the votes of the Iglesia Ni Cristo go?” posted Randy Santos, an INC member.
The posts that went viral also saw print in Zamboanga Today in Zamboanga Peninsula.
“We have three locales here in Lamitan City, Basilan. Our votes for Senator Marcos and Duterte have vanished. Please share this so everyone will become aware of the widespread poll cheating,” Santos said.
JanLeander Metille posted: “How did they [Duterte and Marcos] get zero votes? Didn’t you know that INC members [in Lamitan City] brave bullets just to worship? It is impossible that they will not be united in voting for our candidates.”
“We cannot allow the theft of the votes of our people and the votes of INC. If no one will complain, nothing will be disclosed. Let us tell the world of the mischief of the Aquino government, and of the treachery of Aquino,” Joel Arevalo Ramirez said.
For her part, Malou Billo Chavez said: “It looks like they want us to barricade Comelec once again. Just one signal to all of us and we will be there. We are into block voting, how come our candidates did not receive any votes at all? They are fooling the INC? Let’s see how good they are, even that Leni [Robredo].”
“This should be disclosed by the media. It is impossible that our candidates will get zero votes. There is at least one INC member in the place so it is not possible that our candidates will have zero votes. Let us come up with a page that will broadcast the cheating,” Jacob Ascutia posted.
“I call on everyone now to show our true spirit of unity. We should hold rallies now, to protest the theft of our votes,” Mymy Alino Mariano said.
Macalintal played down the issue of cheating and lambasted the Marcos camp for accusing the administration of rigging the elections to favor Robredo, and challenged them to prove their allegations.
Last week, the Marcos camp discovered that a new script was uploaded to the Comelec’s transparency server, which resulted in the alteration of hash codes of the packet data.
Lawyer Francesca Huang, member of the legal team of Marcos, said the introduction of the new script was “suspect” because it was after this time that Marcos’ one-million vote lead over Robredo started to erode “at a rather distinctive pattern.”
Macalintal said there was no problem if the hash codes were altered “as long the results of the elections are not changed.”
“When (Marcos) was the leading candidate, we don’t hear anything. But when he was succeeded by Robredo, they were saying that there is poll cheating? If he’s leading, the election if ultimately clean; if they lose, the election is marred with irregularities,” Macalintal said.
Marcos lawyer Jose Amor Amorado, meanwhile, said they found a high incidence of under-voting in the vice presidential race in a number of cities and municipalities all over the country, indicating that many people did not vote for a vice president.
“Overall, there were more than 3.3 million under-votes in the 2016 vice presidential derby and in a highly contested race, we consider the same highly suspicious,” Amorado said.
Amorado said they are in possession of evidence of other irregularities but they are still collating and validating them. He said these would be made public as soon as they get the necessary clearance.
He added that Marcos would also send representatives to the hearing of the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the automated election system that will be investigating the unauthorized change in script of a transparency server for automated elections.
Marcos on Tuesday said he would do everything in his power to ensure that the “true will” of the people will prevail.
Marcos issued the statement as he expressed gratitude for winning in the overseas absentee voting over his closest rival, Robredo.
Robredo continued to maintain her lead, however, in the unofficial canvassing, and on Sunday claimed victory after a mass at the Ateneo de Manila University.
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