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Atienza files election protest against rival Lim

May 17, 2010 4:12pm

(Update 2 - 5:58 PM) Former Environment Secretary Joselito 'Lito' Atienza filed an election protest on Monday before the Commission on Elections (Comelec), alleging poll fraud after losing to incumbent Mayor Alfredo Lim in Manila's mayoral race.

"The results were not reflective of the actual votes cast due to irregularities and errors in the canvassing and counting in certain precincts," Atienza said in his 13-page complaint.

The total number of votes in the election returns (ERs) was fewer compared to the tabulated results coming from the consolidation and canvassing system (CCS), the complaint said, claiming that the ERs were manufactured.

"There were errors in the transmission as evidenced by the discrepancy.. Kailangan i-bulgar ang pandaraya," Atienza said, adding that ERs in some precincts revealed voter turnout that exceeded the registered number of voters.

He also accused Lim's camp of rigging results through "force and intimidation:"

"In certain precincts, the results were further manipulated through force and intimidation by protestee (Lim).. ," Atienza's complaint read.

Atienza has asked for a manual recount of all 1,441 clustered precincts in Manila and sought to nullify Lim's proclamation.

“I will only concede if the canvassed results are credible. But from what I see, there were irregularities in the canvassing process.. I consider it my obligation to expose the hard truth abut the [ineptitude] of the PCOS [precinct count optical scan] machines and to protect the vote of the people," Atienza said.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said that a manual recount could only be possible once the poll body finds sufficient basis after the completion of the Random Manual Audit.

"We are already conducting an RMA, and if there is enough basis to require a manual audit in all other precincts, then we would conduct such," Jimenez told GMANews.TV.

The RMA, which is being conducted in five randomly chosen precincts per legislative district in the entire country, is still ongoing.

However, the Comelec has yet to identify a level of variance to justify a manual recount for the rest of the precincts in a district.

Reelectionist Lim was proclaimed mayor of Manila a day after the May 10 polls, with a margin of 214,816 votes. Lim got 395,910 votes (59.52 percent) against Atienza's 181,094 votes (27.22 percent), according to official Comelec figures.

In a separate report, Atienza also said that once his camp establishes solid evidence of irregularities, charges against Smartmatic-TIM, the supplier of the poll machines, will be filed.

For his part, newly-proclaimed re-electionist Manila Mayor said he never cheated in the last elections and would never cheat in his entire life.

"Hindi ako marunong mandaya at hindi ako mandadaya (I don’t know to cheat and I would never cheat)," Lim said last week, referring to Atienza’s claim.

He remains thankful for the Comelec’s automated elections because it reduced cheating compared to manual counting in which cheating is rampant.

Lim added that he preferred to explain the issue in front of Manila residents.

Lim also praised his other rival, former Philippine National Police Chief General Avelino “Sonny" Razon, for conceding before midnight of the canvassing when a large margin of votes was already recorded in the former’s favor.

“Razon is a truly an officer and a gentleman," Lim said. - RJAB Jr., GMANews.TV
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