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ON EVE OF INAUGURATION

Bongbong Marcos files election protest vs. Leni Robredo


A day before the woman who defeated him in the vice presidential race takes office, Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.  on Wednesday sought relief from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to challenge VP-elect Leni Robredo's victory.

In his electoral protest, Marcos asked the PET, which is made up of the Supreme Court's magistrates, to set aside Robredo's proclamation on May 27 and instead declare him the winning vice presidential bet in the May 9 elections.

His lawyer George Garcia alleged 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 protestee 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.

Marcos' has three parts. The first shows that the system had vulnerabilities that were not remedied by Smartmatic, and as a result some groups exploited these flaws to reduce his votes and increase the votes of Robredo.

The second are the specific pieces of evidence of vote buying, intimidation, failure of elections, pre-shading, wholesale ballot feeding and the other abuses we have seen in the news. 

The third  focuses on the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code (or a new script / program) into the Transparency Server and the effects brought about by the so-called cosmetic change.

Marcos alleged that based on numerous testimonial and documentary evidence, they were able to establish the following violations committed by both the Commission on Elections and Smartmatic:

a. R.A. No. 9369 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 Machines (VCMs) supplied by Smartmatic as a component of the AES was an entirely new model.  It was never before used or supplied by Smartmatic for any election, whether in the Philippines or abroad;

b. Thirteen (13) days before the Election Day, Comelec issued a resolution ordering the BOCs not to transmit the Certificate of Canvass (COC) until all SD cards from the VCMs would have been uploaded or imported into their Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS);

c. Six (6) days before elections, the COMELEC set up seven (7) regional hubs for the re-configuration of SD cards without prior notice to the political parties and candidates, or any announcement thereof to the public.  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 Smartmatic / COMELEC.

d. Instead of being replaced by standby CCS, thirty (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.

e. Unauthorized introduction of a new program into the Transparency Server and the apparent use of fourth server (called the Queue Server) that was not subject to review by political parties and candidates required by R.A. No. 9369.

Marcos asked the tribunal to order the annulment of election results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur, where ballots were reportedly pre-shaded.

Meanwhile, votes in 36,000 precincts in 27 other areas (22 provinces and 5 cities) needed to be recounted, the lawmaker said in his plea.

Garcia said that all in all, votes from 39,221 precincts were affected by the the supposed fraud, and if either annulled or recounted, the votes "would be enough to overcome [Robredo's] 263,000-vote lead."

In a news conference after the filing, Marcos said the evidence and testimony he included in his electoral protest came not only from supporters but other concerned groups.

Marcos attached around 20,000 pages of annexes, certificates of candidacy, and other supporting documents to his 1,000-page electoral protest.

He claimed receiving letters of support, one of them saying: "Hindi kita binoto pero alam kong dinaya ka kaya ito ang ebidensya ng nakita ko at pinapadala ko baka makatulong sa inyo."

"Hindi na ito tungkol sa akin ito ay tungkol na sa milyung-milyong boto na winala at sa milyung-milyong botante kung kaninong mga boses ay hindi narinig ng Comelec, ng ating sistema ng halalan," Marcos said.

In his protest, Marcos said he also pointed out the weaknesses of the automated election system used in the May 9 polls, as well as the unauthorized script change in the hash code made by personnel of technology provider Smartmatic-TIM on the night of the elections.

The congresswoman, who has since claimed victory, took exception to Marcos' statements and challenged him to back his allegations with evidence. —NB, GMA News

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