The son and namesake of late Philippine strongman Ferdinand Marcos is fighting for his political future as the nation awaits the outcome of a cliffhanger vice presidential race against a novice politician.
A win for Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., 58, would have been the family’s biggest political victory since its humiliating downfall in 1986 after a “People Power” uprising ended 20 years of human rights abuses, election fraud and the plunder of state coffers.
It was also widely seen as part of a long-term strategy to become president.
But the count for Monday’s vote has dragged, and on Friday Marcos was 217,000 votes behind Rep. Leni Robredo, a widow thrust into politics after her well-regarded interior-minister husband died in a 2012 plane crash.
With a million votes left to count, Marcos has refused to concede defeat while he accused President Benigno Aquino’s government of manipulating the results for Robredo.
“If you add up all the votes that had not been transmitted, it would show that I won by a large margin,” Marcos said this week as his near-one-million lead early in the count evaporated.
On Friday, Marcos’s camp said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should explain why hash codes in vote counting machines were changed in the middle of the counting.
It said the Comelec’s failure to guard the Automated Election System has “cast a cloud of doubt over the integrity of the entire process.”
“We call on the Information Technology experts to help us make sense of this very serious issue. This is not just about guarding the votes of Senator Marcos but the integrity of the whole electoral process,” it added.
It slammed Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista for saying that he did not know about the changing of new hash codes.
“This is a matter of grave and immediate concern. We do not agree with Chairman Bautista’s claim that the change was something innocuous,” the senator’s camp said.
It cited Section 28 of Republic Act 8436 which provides that “any form of utilization without authorization or tampering with electronic devices or their components used in the automated elections is prohibited and punishable by law.”
“Were there other modifications made? By whom and upon whose authority? Why were the changes done by a Venezuelan Smartmatic technician rather than a Filipino Comelec-authorized personnel?” it added.
Nearly 96 percent of the votes have been counted.
Some polling booths failed to function properly on election day Monday because of violence or technical glitches, causing delay in tallying the votes. About 2,000 precincts have been allowed to conduct new elections on Saturday.
In Monday’s elections, former first lady Imelda Marcos won a third term at the House of Representatives, representing the Ilocos Norte province.
Her daughter, Imee Marcos, was also elected governor of the province for the third time.