Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Wednesday filed an electoral protest before the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), questioning results of the vice presidential race.
In a 1,200–-page petition, the Ilocano lawmaker said he, not Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo, should be declared the rightful winner because he can easily overtake Robredo’s lead of 263,473 once the votes in 40 areas are corrected through a recount.
“It is my moral and social duty to the Filipino people to expose the truth, and the fraudulent machinations, anomalies and irregularities which attended the recently concluded May 9 elections, by filing this election protest. I owe it to the 14 million people who voted for me and to the millions of Filipinos whose voices were not heard,” Marcos added.
He personally filed the petition at the SC at 4 p.m. He brought with him 20,000 pages of documentary and testimonial pieces of evidence.
The outgoing senator is contesting the results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five highly urbanized cities.
He said the SC will have an easy time to decide on the case because the evidence of fraud was overwhelming.
The PET is composed of the Chief Justice as chairman and the 14 associate justices as members. A vote of seven members is enough to declare the final winner.
The tribunal has the sole power to hear and determine election protests involving the presidential and vice presidential polls.
In the past, the tribunal tackled the election protest filed by Sen. Loren Legarda against Vice President Noli de Castro and the election protest lodged by former senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd against Vice President Jejomar Binay.
The tribunal is mandated to hear and decide the protest in 20 months.
“The votes presumptively obtained by Robredo during the last elections are products of electoral frauds, anomalies and irregularities. The votes obtained by protestant Marcos were significantly reduced, manipulated and altered to make it appear that he only placed second,” the lawmaker said.
Marcos added that his petition is based on a flawed Automated Election System (AES), traditional modes of cheating like vote-buying, pre-shading, intimidation and failure of elections and unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code into the transparency server of the Commision on Elections (Comelec).
“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 my votes and increase the votes of Robredo so that she could win the vice presidency. The second are the specific [pieces of]evidence of vote-buying, intimidation, failure of elections, pre-shading, wholesale ballot feeding and other abuses [that]were in the news. The third focuses on the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic of a new hash code into the transparency server and the effects brought about by the so-called cosmetic change,” he said.
Smartmatic, a Venezuelan firm, was the technology provider for the May 9 polls.
Marcos said the Comelec and Smartmatic committed five major violations.
He noted that Republic Act 9369 requires that the AES to be used in the 2016 balloting should have been used successfully in the country or abroad.
But, he said, the Vote Counting Machines or VCMs used were entirely new.
Another violation was that 13 days before May 9, the Comelec ordered the Board of Canvassers not to transmit the Certificates of Canvass (COC) until all SD (secure digital) cards from the VCMs have been uploaded or imported into their Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS).
Third is the fact that six days before May 9, the Comelec set up seven regional hubs for the reconfiguration of SD cards without prior notice. Configurations should have been done only at the Santa Rosa (Laguna) facility of Comelec-Smartmatic.
Fourth is when instead of being replaced by standby CCSs, 30 CCSs were pulled out of the custody of the Bureau of Customs and were delivered to the Santa Rosa facility upon the order of the Comelec through Executive Director Jose Tolentino.
The last was the introduction of a new hash code, which triggered a surge of votes for Robredo.
Marcos asked the PET to order a recount of the questioned ballots and a verification of voter’s receipts and election returns, including system audit.
Some 400 marchers trooped to Padre Faura Street in Manila to show their support to the senator.