The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Monday denied allegations of discrepancies in the ongoing overseas absentee voting (OAV).
The reaction came after vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. disclosed a “plot of cheating” where the votes intended for him went to his opponent, Sen. Gregorio Honasan.
Citing unspecified reports, he said the voting receipts allegedly do not match the actual votes.
Vice President Jejomar Binay, standard-bearer of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), also complained of similar incidents.
DFA Undersecretary Rafael Seguis played down the revelations, saying the Overseas Voting Secretariat “has not received any report from foreign service posts mentioned about any incident of voting irregularities.”
“Allegations of irregularities involving the vote counting machines (VCMs) should be properly substantiated,” he told The Manila Times.
Seguis noted that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) had assured the public that the source code Installed in the VCMs has been verified and certified by international organizations to be free from malicious commands or code.
There are 1.37 million registered overseas Filipino voters (OFVs) but voter turnout remained low more than two weeks since the month-long overseas absentee voting (OAV) started on April 9.
Charles Jose, Assistant Secretary and spokesman for the DFA, admitted that it may be impossible to get at least one million Filipinos abroad to vote.
“We are appealing to them to exercise [their right to suffrage],” Jose said. “Why not vote if you are already registered? If you took the trouble to register, might as well take the trouble to vote.”
During the 2013 midterm polls, only 118,823 ballots were cast by 737,759 registered OFVs.
Jose expressed hope that the voter turnout will increase in the last days of OAV.
He said Filipinos have a habit of voting at the last minute.
“Maybe they are still waiting to make up their minds,” Jose added.