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Bautista on vote-rigging ‘whistleblowers’: Too late the hero

Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista on Tuesday raised doubts over the timing of the revelations of alleged whistleblowers of the May 9 elections irregularities, which came after Congress finished the canvassing of votes for candidates for president and vice president.

"What immediately entered my mind is that they are like too late the hero e. Why only now?" Bautista said in a radio interview.

He added: "If they really have evidence of fraud, why did they come out only now? It has been three weeks since the elections. They should have come out immediately."

Pastor Boy Saycon of the Council of Philippine Affairs (COPA) initially presented a certain "Ka Bert," a self confessed election rigging operator.

On Monday, hours before the proclamation of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President-elect Leni Robredo, Saycon brought three witnesses to alleged vote-rigging operations in Quezon province at the Senate.

Bautista maintained that vote-rigging, as claimed by the supposed whistleblowers, could not have happened.

“There are many checks and balances, several safeguards [in place in the Automated Election System]. That’s why I cannot believe these kinds of accusations and claims,” the poll chief said.

Bautista cited the public website, which went live before election day, where the Comelec showed the election returns from the 92,509 clustered precincts.

He also noted the issuance of vote receipts, which are printed by the vote-counting machines right after a person had voted.

Bautista also said that the Comelec is conducting the random manual audit.

The alleged witnesses presented by Saycon claimed that at least 300,000 votes were added to the tally for Robredo and that majority of votes that were padded to Robredo's were shaved from votes for Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

The vote-rigging operations supposedly happened in a building in Quezon province and that employees of the Smartmatic and the administration were involved.

The poll chief, meanwhile, assured that the Comelec will accept all election fraud cases that will be filed by individuals.

"We are open to them if they have evidence and proof," he said. —ALG, GMA News