A poll watchdog said on Saturday that it will ask the Supreme Court to invalidate the result of the vice presidential race, saying the credibility of the polls was put in doubt with the admission of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) that Smartmatic used a new script midway through the canvassing of votes.
Credible election advocate Glenn Chong, a member of AES Watch, said that his group will have no other choice but to file a petition at the High Court.
“I think only the vice presidential race was compromised. The results of the presidential race is okay,” Chong told The Manila Times.
He said his group will include as respondents in the soon to be filed case officials of Smartmatic and the Comelec.
“The Smartmatic for not following the protocol and the Comelec for negligence in ensuring that the procedures are followed strictly. How can they miss this simple problem of missing ‘ñ’ character?” said Chong, who described the irregularity as electronic vote-padding and vote-shaving or cyber ‘dagdag-bawas.’
Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Friday said Smartmatic should be investigated by the commission en banc. If found guilty of violating laws, Smartmatic may be fined and be banned for making business with the poll body.
The camp of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. had also called on the Comelec to conduct an audit of of the system and platform of the servers used during the elections.
The senator’s camp said that the changing of the hash tag by Smartmatic may have altered the vote results.
Insiders told the Times that Marcos prefers a vote recount but this can only be done if the May 9 election is invalidated.
Meanwhile, Marcos appealed for continued vigilance as he cited reports that as of Friday, over 3,800 Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) still could not transmit election results.
“With a considerable number of votes that have yet to be transmitted, we have to remain vigilant, yet calm and sober, to ensure that the true will of the people will be reflected in the results of the elections,” he said.
Also, 555 VCMs from polling precincts in the Middle East and Africa still have to transmit results, 310 from North and Latin America, 339 from Asia and 152 from Europe. These VCMs supposedly account for around 980,000 registered voters.
Marcos said that 333 VCMs from Lanao del Sur have yet to transmit election results, as well as 207 from Surigao del Sur, 158 from Maguindanao and 160 from Sulu.
“I will rest when I am satisfied that the results that are being counted, that are official, are actually validated by the results as we can certainty confirm it from local reports that we get from the different precincts,” the senator said.
Although the official canvassing of the presidential and vice presidential votes will start on May 25, Marcos has tapped a battery of lawyers to be led by former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes.
The lawmaker thanked his volunteers and supporters for accompanying him in his unity campaign. He said they deserve commendation for helping him in the campaign and keeping the faith as he fights for the integrity of the elections.
“I want to profusely thank our volunteers and our supporters for their selfless act of giving their time and effort in helping ensure free, honest and credible elections,” he said.
As of yesterday morning, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo was still leading in the vice presidential race.
The unofficial canvassing of votes by the Parish Pastoral Council on Responsible Voting (PPCRV) showed Robredo enjoying a wide lead over Marcos.
With about 96.05 percent of precincts counted, Robredo had 14,014,517 votes and Marcos got 13,798,213 votes as of 11:45 a.m.
However, the tabulation showed that only 1,304 votes were added to the lead of Robredo since 8:45 p.m. on Friday.
The camp of Robredo will hold a thanksgiving mass at 3 p.m. today at the Church of the Gesu at the Ateneo de Manila University for a successful and peaceful elections.
The event is open to the public.
Robredo’s eldest daughter, Aika, will lead the praying of the rosary ahead of the mass.
On Friday, Robredo’s camp called on their supporters and the public to trust the Commission on Elections and its partners instead of falling for doubt peddlers.
Georgina Hernandez, spokesperson of Robredo, said that claims of poll rigging were never substantiated.
“We call on the public to believe and trust the authorities and the democratic exercise that our country is undergoing right now. The Comelec itself said that the changing of hash code would not affect the election results. Yes, issues like this could affect the minds of the public, but we are to clarify and emphasize that such changes won’t have any bearing on the final results of the elections,” Hernandezsaid.
“We stand by what the Comelec and the foreign observers had said that there was no poll fraud. May duda man o wala, hindi nagbabago ang numero ng resulta ng eleksyon. Hindi po kami nag-aalala dahil ang halalan ay natapos na po noong Mayo 9 (Whether there are doubts or not, it doesn’t change the election results. We are not worried because the elections are already over),” she stressed
WITH LLANESCA T. PANTI AND NELSON S. BADILLA