After being left in limbo regarding their suspicions of massive fraud in the 2016 elections, the people will suddenly be treated to simultaneous probes into the political exercise, as if the quantity of inquiries would make a significant difference.
The hyperactivity has been triggered by Senate majority leader Vicente Sotto 3rd, who revealed last Tuesday in a privilege speech that a reliable “informant” disclosed to him that alleged poll results were being transmitted to various levels of board of canvassers a full day before the actual voting took place on May 9, 2016.
Sotto wants the Senate to conduct, through its blue ribbon committee chaired by Sen. Richard Gordon, an investigation into the disclosure that was made to him and, thereby, confirm or disprove the allegations of fraud in the elections.
Because of its central role in the conduct of the elections, and out of clear concern for its jurisdiction and accountability, the Commission on Elections quickly announced, through its spokesman James Jimenez, that it will conduct its own investigation of the allegations of election fraud by Senator Sotto.
The Comelec’s move is a clear demonstration of its desire to control the narrative in the investigation of Sotto’s expose.
We shudder at the thought of having to cover two election fraud investigations at the same time.
And then we must consider the fact that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PEC) is knee-deep in the process of determining the veracity of the protest of former Sen. Bongbong Marcos against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo for alleged cheating in the vice-presidential contest.
In the face of so many fraud inquiries, we think it is sensible for everyone concerned to take a deep breath and determine what course of action would best serve the public interest.
Each fork of inquiry – the Senate investigation, the Comelec investigation, and the vice-presidential protest process – has its specific interest to serve, and should have the leeway to inquire as much as it likes.
We champion the broader and urgent need for a comprehensive investigation of the 2016 election, to determine once and for all whether massive fraud was commited in the elections, whether its principal perpetrator was the Aquino administration, and whether there are officials in our government today who hold their posts by usurpation.
The broader perspective is imperative, because we could wind up in the proverbial situation where the mountain of government will be in labor, and what comes out is a mouse.
This is not to discourage inquiry but to underscore the importance of results.
It is vital to find out the truth about Senator Sotto’s claim that a reliable informant had disclosed there were transmissions of election results to the Board of Canvassers a day before the balloting. If the transmission logs are confirmed, we will have proof of official tampering of the election count by both the Comelec and Smartmatic.
It is also important for the Comelec to investigate its own ranks, because it must bear full responsibility for any rigging of the polls, if verified.
And it is important that the PEC should complete its work with dispatch, because at stake is the succession to the presidency.
The nation needs a report and perspective on the 2016 elections, in which it will have confidence and assurance about its democracy and its government
It will not suffice for the Senate to just conduct its usual committee hearing – free-wheeling, grandstanding and hectoring – on the expose of Senator Sotto.
This time, the chamber should aim higher, and strive to resolve the people’s lingering belief that the administration of former President Benigno Aquino 3rd committed massive fraud in the 2016 elections.
This time, the nation must have the whole truth.