FORMER senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the recount of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race would start this month, claiming he was cheated of some four million votes.
“If we start the recount this month, I think the results will be out before the year ends,” Marcos said in the weekly Kamuning Bakery forum in Quezon City.
Marcos, who lost the vice presidential race by 263,473 votes, is protesting the victory of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo before the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
The Marcos camp accuses Robredo of benefiting from “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as the pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded data storage cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes or “undervotes.”
Marcos emphasized that he lost about four million votes in last year’s automated elections.
“Maybe the votes were given to another candidate,” he told reporters, without naming names.
“We are very sure that when the recount begins, the real results will come out and we will find that the vote count of the previous elections was wrong,” he added.
Marcos earlier said the recount of votes would begin in three pilot provinces—Iloilo, Camarines Sur, and Negros Oriental, where there were allegedly “more than a million undervotes,” or ballots that contained votes for president but not for vice president.
Robredo got 664,190 votes in Camarines Sur as against Marcos’ 41,219. Robredo also beat Marcos in Negros Oriental, 255,598 to 66,506; as well as in Iloilo, 137,662 to 33,778.
“The best evidence is the ballot box. I want to show that the Comelec (Commission on Elections) results were inaccurate,” Marcos said.
In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts. He paid P66 million for a recount in 36,465 clustered precincts, and wants the results annulled for the remaining 2,756.
Robredo has a counter-protest, with the provinces of Capiz, Sulu and North Cotabato as her pilot recount areas. She was ordered to pay P16 million for her recount.
‘It will take more than three months’
The camp of Robredo on Thursday belied Marcos’ claim that the poll protest would be resolved by the end of the year.
“Mr. Marcos’ malicious statement was meant to condition the minds of the public regarding his impending loss. If only Mr. Marcos were honest enough, he cannot deny that it will take more than three months to finish the process of retrieval and recount,” lawyer Bernadette Sardillo said in a statement.
“We are not aware where he (Marcos) obtained his data regarding the results of the 2016 elections and his information that his protest will be decided this year,” Sardillo added.
with LLANESCA T. PANTI