A group of taxpayers asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to prosecute Smartmatic officials who tampered with the Automated Election System (AES).
The three—Bishop Reuben Abante, lawyer Eduardo Bringas and Moses Rivera also want Smartmatic to explain the upsurge and abrupt fall of votes in the vice presidential race.
The group, in their petition for mandamus and certiorari, urged the High Court to give the public access to the source codes in the May 9, 2016 elections.
They want Comelec “to provide the complete data of the updates of the elections for the position of the president and vice president from the time the votes were transmitted on May 9, 2016 up to the time before the actual canvassing of Congress in the same sequential order of updates received by the network, indicating the places where the votes came per update result.”
If investigation will show that Smartmatic personnel tampered with the counting machines, these personnel and their conspirators should be prosecuted, they added.
The petitioners said Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and the commissioners who already made conclusions on the case should recuse themselves from the investigation.
The camp of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said it is consolidating evidence that will support allegations that he was cheated.
Marcos identified 113 precincts where he got zero votes, including areas where there were voters belonging to the Iglesia Ni Cristo that endorsed his candidacy. The senator’s camp has yet to say if it will file an electoral protest against Vice President-elect Leni Robredo.
Marcos said among the 113 precincts where he got zero votes are areas identified as his bailiwicks such as two towns in Eastern Visayas where his mother Imelda, now Ilocos Norte lawmaker, was a former congresswoman.
He also got zero votes in Western Samar, another bailiwick of the Marcoses.
Marcos has 60 days from May 9 to file a protest at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s lawyer, however brushed aside Marcos’ threat to file a poll protest, saying it would be a “waste of millions of money.”
Macalintal said he will quit as a lawyer if Marcos will be able to show proof that he was cheated.
The election lawyer said there was nothing irregular with the undervote phenomenon, saying it happened in previous elections.
In 2010, he said there was 2.9 million undervotes or 7.8 percent of total ballots cast; in 2004 (a manual election) there was 3.18 million undervotes or 9.5 percent of total ballots cast.
Macalintal also dismissed the motion of the Marcos camp demanding a system audit.
“It will not prosper because they don’t have evidence. It is difficult to prove cheating due to manipulation of the automated elections,” he said.
However, he said cheating could have been done manually by pre-shading ballots.
Also on Monday, Vice President Jejomar Binay’s camp expressed support to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting’s (PPCRV) call for the Comelec to probe alleged irregularities in the recent elections.
In a statement issued on Monday, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) also hit the Comelec’s “dismissive attitude” and said that this showed a lack of interest.
“The lack of interest of the Comelec to investigate election irregularities raises suspicion.
Do we take the Commission’s dismissive attitude as a passive rejection, or an intent to ignore legitimate claims from concerned parties like the PPCRV and other poll watchdogs?” UNA spokesperson Mon Ilagan said.
“ Videos and evidence of irregularity in the previous elections are already posted on social media. Shouldn’t they be already starting an investigation and to find out whether these are true and to find evidence? ” Ilagan asked.
With REINA TOLENTINO