• EDITORIAL

    SC order to COMELEC on Marcos protest timely and important

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    The Supreme Court has ordered the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to fast-track the closure/stripping activities of all the vote counting machines (VCMs) covered by the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in last year’s vice-presidential election.

    This COMELEC order serves the public interest most vitally.

    Unless this step is taken, the protest proceedings under the High Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal cannot move forward toward a resolution of the issues.

    Nearly seven months have already passed since the nation held national elections on May 9, 2016. Vice-presidential candidate Marcos filed his official protest almost immediately after his opponent, then representative Maria Leonor Robredo, was proclaimed by the COMELEC as the winner of the balloting. He did so on the grounds that there were irregularities in the canvassing of the votes, and evident lapses in the automated election system (AES) process. And he has fulfilled all the requirements for such protest under the election rules.

    But inexplicably, the protest proceedings, until now, have not moved forward. The COMELEC has moved sluggishly in taking the preparatory steps to facilitate a speedy recount of the votes and a speedy determination of facts regarding the claims of Mr. Marcos.

    Under its chairman, Mr. Andres Bautista, the election body hascited all kinds of excuses for failure to take action. It has even tried to scare the public with the claim that the protest will cost its coffers over P2 billion to handlethe protest, because it would have to make payment for election paraphernalia from Smartmatic which were used in the election.

    The dilly–dallying is inexcusable. Dealing with the protest is a matter of duty for the electionbody, just as it is a matter of duty for the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to hear the protest all the way to resolution.

    The issue of determining who truly won in the vice-presidential election is a matter invested with great public interest for a number of reasons.

    First, the public still does not have full confidence that the COMELEC delivered to the nation an accurate and fair account of the electoral will of our people in the May election. The results, as presented by the election body, donot hang together coherently because of many discrepancies and documented breakdowns in the election process in some areas of the country.

    Second, the position that is under contest is the vice-presidency of the republic, whose possessor, once legally and convincingly determined, will stand next in line to the presidency.

    Third, the issue of determining who really won in the vice-presidential contest has been overtaken by feverish talk about plots of destabilization against PresidentDeuterate. This is a complication that cannot be dismissed offhand.

    It is salutary that the electoral tribunal, in its resolution, also ordered the COMELEC to present the itemized cost that it may be required to pay for the automated election paraphernalia that will remain in COMELEC’s possession on account of the Marcos protest. The COMELEC has manifested that it will spend P2,078,304,225.76 on account of the election protest by holding the VCMs.

    This is the proper way to proceed, and it is key to moving the protest proceedings forward.

    Thiswill enable the nation to know whether there is truth to Mr. Marcos’ claim, that Ms. Robredo, through the Liberal Party, indeed committed “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” in the May 2016 election.

    At the end of the line, whoever is found to be the true winner, the nation will have a real and legitimate vice-president, and not merely one who could be a mere pretender.

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    13 Comments

    1. We are hoping that PET will proclaim the real Vice-president of the Philippines.Because majority of voters believed that Bongbong Marcos won the election last May 9.

    2. I hope Smartmatic should be banned permanently in all future bids for AES. Every time Smartmatic was involved in Philippine election, there is always doubt on the results. Nobody trusts Smartmatic anymore except the corrupt Comelec officials.

    3. Chairman Bautista, it s time to shift loyalty to our country. Do the right thing! The truth will set you free!

    4. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

      SC should be commended for its action. While the people are having second thoughts because a majority of the members are appointees of P-Noy, still faith and trust in the sense of justice of the SC members is allive and with this the hope that the justices have their respective consciences to answer should they fail in ensuring that TRUTH AND JUSTICE must prevail. God bless the Philippines.

    5. hope this is a genuine order of the supreme court to comelec. let’s see how fast is the comelec to obey the supreme court order.

    6. CAUTION !

      Without a clear and spelled-out-in-detail protocol agreed upon by ALL STAKEHOLDERS (actually meaning all Filipinos), this exercise casts a very big doubt on what it really is and what is its potential (maybe even fatal) impact on the process of auditing the results of the 2016 election and finding out the truth via the Marcos VP results protest. It is immaterial on whose protest is on the PET plate now. What is of vital importance to our democracy is the establishment of the truth underlying the questionable (again, the 4th time) May 9 election. The questions even go beyond the VP results in fact. WHY THE BIG RUSH OF POSSIBLY KILLING OUR DEMOCRACY ?
      This stripping/closure exercise is nothing but the process of possibly destroying the CRITICAL public records of the 2016 election by another version of HOCUS PCOS hiding in clear sight – most especially the VITAL digital records. It blatantly runs counter to RA 9369’s (AES LAW’s) DATA RETENTION provision which mandates at the minimum standard retention period of public records of 5 years and even perpetual retention for some records of critical importance. The activity is even additionally termed “closure.” What does closure mean ? It simply means erasing the evidenciary value of the election data especially the digital data after said stripping/closure exercise. Now, why is Comelec (at the BEHEST of Smartmatic most likely as the sun will rise tomorrow) in a rush to finish this process ONLY 241 days or 8 months after the May 9, 2016 election ? ISN’T THIS AGAIN ANOTHER VIOLATION OF THE AES LAW SPECIFICALLY THE DATA RETENTION PROVISION ? IS THIS SIMPLE RULE MISSED OUT BY THE SC BECAUSE SMARTMATIC IS THREATENING COMELEC TO PAY 2 BILLION IF THIS IS NOT DONE NOW ?
      ANO BA NAMAN ITO ? UNTIL NOW BA NAMAN NGAYON NA POST-YELLOW ADMINISTRATION NA EH NAMAMAYAGPAG PA RIN ANG SMARTMATIC ? IN FACT SMARTMATIC SHD NOT BE PAID EVEN ONE DULING NA CENTAVO FOR THE DELIVERY OF A HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE ELECTION. THEY SHD RIGHTFULLY BE CHARGED AND PUT IN JAIL AS PRESCRIBED BY THE SAME ELECTION LAW (FOR TAMPERING OF ELECTION RESULTS ) ! ATTENTION: PRESIDENT DUTERTE PLEASE, PLEASE GIVE URGENT ATTENTION TO THIS ISSUE . THIS IS MORE THAN JUST PLAIN CORRUPTION. THIS IS THE “COUP DE GRACE” OF OUR DEMOCRACY !

    7. It is about time the Comelec was pushed to move to serve the country honestly. It required a court order to do so. With its reputation badly sullied, the Comelec can save face by doing what is right this time. A severe sanction should be hanged over its head so the people can be assured it will finally do its duty to serve the citizenry.

    8. This is extremely a welcome news. The country is waiting for the REAL VICE -PRESIDENT to take up his post and not suffer any longer any longer this incompetent pretender. The PET will do us all a great favor by proclaiming the true winner soon.

      • The winner has been proclaimed. The sore loser is claiming the cosmetic script change in the server ( which is NOT the database machine) robbed him of victory. THAT is the real story that the SC proceeding will verify. Your imagined edition will live only in your brain and go dodo on your last breath.