I shall yield today’s column to a posting that Felicito C. Payumo sent to his mailing list. The story has been going around for many months. In fact, a full-page ad came out in a major daily not too long ago about this.
The following are Mr. Payumo’s words:
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I was asked if we had expected what we found inside the ballot boxes in Dinalupihan–bundles of wrapped ballots, some with seal and marks of COMELEC, in 78 of 80 ballot boxes. No, we did not.
We were prepared for a long tedious manual count of the ballots. If they had matched the PCOS, then that’s the end of the story. We would have moved on.
But we had reasons in filing a protest. The transmission from the precinct in Barangay Tucop were received in Dinalupihan Municipal Hall server earlier than 7 pm while voting was still going on! And the highly improbable results: Leony Cruz, a three termer Vice Mayor who had always won with “landslide” margin, would not even make it to an 8 slots Councilor contest. He did not even land 8th. Not 9th, or 10th, or 11th. He was no 12. No one in the Councilor slate of the opposition made it. That never happened before, no matter how strong the majority party. The topnotcher in the Poblacion was a candidate from the remotest barangay of Roosevelt Park, when there were more popular candidates from the Poblacion.
The voter turnout was 85 percent! Unusually high in a midterm election. In the past, the turnout would be 60-65 percent even in a Presidential election.
The Iglesia (INC) votes apparently did not count. Joel Payumo pointed out that we got the same number of votes when I was supported officially by the INC, while he was not. And strangely, when the town, being the biggest in the District, would normally field 2 candidates for the provincial Board, their townmates would always give them the first and second position, enough to make them win. That happened with Jojo Payumo and Tikboy Muli, and Lucy and Tikboy. In the 2013 elections, Tonito Payumo was the lone candidate of Dinalupihan, and many swore that they even did single voting for him. Yet he landed 6th, not just in the District but in Dinalupihan. Onor, Ibe, Tigas, Gaza, and Ferrer etc. who were from the other towns, and one particularly was unpopular because of undelivered scholarship issues, got the first five slots in Dinalupihan.
Mahina rin ang ulo noong nag-program ng PCOS … hindi man lang pinapanalo sa Dinalupihan at binawian na lang sa ibang bayan. It was evident that whoever programmed the results was not from Bataan because he did not know the political terrain. And while I would lose 55 percent to 45 percent ratio in 3 towns for Congressman, and 60 percent to 40 percent in the other three towns, the programmer would make me lose 60-40 in Dinalupihan.
The rest is history. The bundles of wrapped ballots in 78 ballot boxes, with 8 bundles found on the shelf of the Municipal Election Officer’s office, shocked the whole town, including the netizens living abroad! No wonder, the other camp kept on filing urgent motions for a TRO. And when they got from the Supreme Court, not aTRO since the counting had been completed and there was nothing more to restrain, but a reversal of the Comelec’s decision which, in effect dismissed the protest, what the other camp achieved was simply to prevent the RTC Judge from making a ruling. The SC cannot erase the images of the bundles of wrapped ballots from the minds, not only of Dinalupihenyos, but of Bataenyos, including the netizens abroad! Is that a victory for them?
But what if they had succeeded in getting a TRO early enough? This shocking truth would have remained hidden, forever! But the heavens did not allow it.
I have no doubt that this script could not have been written by mortal humans. It must have been written from above. Dinalupihan is thankful to have been chosen to play a role in this script that might yet start a peaceful but resounding revolution to strike down the impunity of the Comelec officials, political parties, and candidates who make a mockery of our election process.”
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Here are some questions that demand answers:
1. Who sent the results that were transmitted supposedly from Barangay Tucop to the Dinalupihan Municipal Hall server before 7 pm? And from where?
2. How can the voter turn-out be 20% more than past elections? And in a mid-term election?
3. How explain the highly-improbable results? It seems the only possible explanation is that they were pre-programmed.
4. Why were the ballots wrapped in bundles, in 78 of 80 ballot boxes? Weren’t they supposed to be loose … falling into the boxes as voters fed them into the PCOS machines? Or, were these supposed to “cover up” for the cheating committed through PCOS?
5. Why were 8 bundles of ballots found inside the Municipal Election Officer’s office? They are supposed to be kept in the custody of the Municipal Treasurer.
6. And the most important question– what has the Comelec done about this case? Did they even bother to ask Smartmatic for an explanation? This same situation could have happened in many other municipalities (as we strongly suspect), except that no protests were filed, or the protesters might have just given up on their cases. Note that it took two long years before the RTC allowed the opening of the Dinalupihan ballot boxes. We salute Mr. Payumo for pursuing the case, despite all odds.
This case is so important because it is solid proof that Smartmatic’s PCOS system cannot be relied upon. Yet, it is this same system that Comelec will use in 2016. Should we, the electorate, allow them to do so? May God help our country. If we Filipinos cannot.