Vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said while he has reservations on the canvassing of votes for the race for Vice President, presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte should be proclaimed immediately.
“I propose the immediate proclamation of our presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte, being the clear and uncontested winner in the presidential elections. Again, I offer him my sincere congratulations and my hand in partnership for the future. Mr. President, the Philippines now looks to you for your leadership and vision,” Marcos said in a privileged speech.
In the official canvassing of votes for the vice presidency, however, it is a different story, according to the senator, as he noted several irregularities.
Because of this, he said, his camp will move to exclude from the official canvassing of votes the Certificates of Canvass (COC) of areas where there were evidence or strong indications of poll irregularities.
“I think there were areas where we need to examine [the COC]first before being included in the canvassing. It depends on the area, there were places where there were no problems at all,” Marcos told reporters after delivering the privileged speech.
He said most of these areas where poll irregularities occurred were in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.
In his speech, Marcos expressed “serious reservations” on the canvassing of the votes for the vice presidential race, citing reports and evidence of various irregularities that put a cloud of doubt on the integrity of results of the polls.
Among others, he cited the reports on thousands of pre-shaded ballots in an abandoned warehouse in Pangasinan, SD cards found in a trash can in Kabangkalan, Negros Occidental, as well as a video on election fraud in Datu Ampatuan, Maguindanao.
Marcos also pointed to the unauthorized introduction of a new script in the transparency server used in the polls by Smartmatic personnel Marlon Garcia.
Shortly after this change in software, he said, his votes started to slow down while that for another candidate accelerated at a linear rate of 45,000 votes for every 1 percent of votes counted.
The senator noted that Garcia has been charged with electoral sabotage for doing the very same thing during the 2013 elections.
Marcos said while Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista claimed that Garcia’s move resulted in a ”cosmetic” change, “we should not take such assurance as gospel truth.”
“We should not accept on mere blind faith the representations of the contractor and the reflected data on their machines. The burden of proof should be upon them, and the Comelec as well, that the integrity of the system was not compromised. The Comelec should not allow that the secrecy of the ballot be turned into the secrecy of the vote count,” he pointed out.
According to the senator, the poll body is yet to reply to his request to allow the servers used by the poll body in the May 9 elections to undergo audit by his own IT experts.
Quoting a computer expert, Marcos said, “Any time a computer program is changed, it can change things you don’t see.”
He added that his camp has gathered evidence on other forms of cheating such as vote-buying, intimidation and other acts to deny voters their right to vote but these, the senator said, would be raised in the proper time and the proper forum.
Because of these controversy, cross-accusations and confusion, Marcos called for eternal vigilance to ensure fair and free elections.
“Even if you are satisfied with the results of the May 9 elections, it remains our job to rise above politics, and protect the sanctity of each and every ballot,” he said.
“I raise all these for the millions of Filipinos who voted for me and all the other voters whose votes were ‘lost’ and remain uncounted. Your votes genuinely and properly reflect your will and your trust in me. I will be forever grateful. I vow to fight for the disenfranchised, whose votes were either prevented, diverted or declared invalid and thrown away, that their true choice be counted and included” Marcos added.