CHEATING in the May 9 elections was massive and nearly unstoppable; it involved two major operations: one electronic (the rigging of the automated Comelec vote count); and the other manual (the outright doctoring by hand of the ballots and the certificates of canvass).
The chief beneficiaries of the vote rigging were:
1. Leni Robredo, who was enabled to beat Bongbong Marcos in the vice-presidential contest;
2. Franklin Drilon, who was catapulted to No. 1 in the senatorial race in order to surpass Joel Villanueva, the surprise pacesetter in the early count.
3. Mar Roxas, who was elevated to second place in the presidential race.
The biggest victim of the cheating was Bongbong Marcos, who some say would have won the vice-presidential race by 3 million votes without the cheating.
The combination of electronic and manual fraud could have overcome also Mayor Duterte’s formidable vote margin, had the manipulators pursued the plan to its conclusion. But the chief architect of the cheating, President Benigno BS Aquino, chickened out.
Quick test on electronic fraud
There is no such thing as partial cheating; all cheating is designed to accomplish an ignoble end—the fraudulent or illegitimate victory of a favored candidate.
In answer to those who claim that the Smartmatic tampering with the vote count was confined to only the unofficial count of the votes, and that the official canvass was not affected, foreign experts urge us to conduct a simple test which will show us what really happened electronically, even before the systems audit of the automated Election System (AES) is conducted.
We will know whether Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista and Sen. Bam Aquino lied to us when they told the nation solemnly that the Script change *(or hash code change) made by Smartmatic affected only the Comelec transparency server at the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), and not the Comelec central server through this simple test:
Compare the spelling of the names Seneres, Osmena, etc in the PPCRV server, and the spelling of the same names in the central and other servers.
If there was no tampering with the central server, the spelling of the names “Seneres , osmena, etc.” would bear a question mark rather than the letter “ñ”, just like the transparency server.
If there is tampering, the spelling of these names, with the question marks corrected, would be the same for all servers.
This verification test will determine once and for all the truth of Bautista’s and Smartmatic’s claim that the script change was only “cosmetic.”
Given this, Comelec can no longer logically refuse to allow a systems audit.
Fraud as a plague
Many believe that probing the AES should not stop at just this ñ business because the issue is nothing less than the integrity of the elections themselves.
De La Salle University professor Antonio Contreras, a leading voice in the electronic fraud controversy, says the fraud involved here is like a plague. He wrote on his Facebook page:
“The issue here is fraud. And it is one already mediated by technology. The signs of the plague are there. I urge Bongbong Marcos to exhaust all legal remedies if only to make sure that this will never happen again.”
He issued this warning to Robredo: “There is no glory in winning a highly questionable election. The ghosts of fraud will haunt you. And you will go down the annals of history as a product of that fraud.”
Tiglao’s convincing analysis
My colleague Bobi Tiglao exposes the election fraud from the other keyhole: the manual and wholesale manufacture of unreal elections results in certain provinces and regions to produce a Robredo victory.
He wrote a hard-hitting column yesterday (“Marcos was cheated, should file protest for country’s sake” Times, 30 May 2016), that challenged the legitimacy of Robredo’s victory, and urged Sen. Marcos to file a protest for the sake of the nation.
Bobi Tiglao marshaled considerable statistics and data to support his conclusion that there was massive electoral fraud perpetrated by the administration.
Amazingly, Marcos won in all the cities of the national capital region (NCR) and in all the regions of Luzon, except for Bicol, which is Robredo’s home turf.
Robredo won in provinces where cheating could be accomplished at will—in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanaao (ARMM) and Palawan.
The massive and systematic fraud happened because President Benigno BS Aquino insanely demanded of the Comelec that Marcos should be prevented from winning at all costs.
Protest as service to the nation
When Al Gore gracefully conceded to George W. Bush in the closely contested US election of Nov. 2000, one New York Times pundit (Thomas L. Friedman) wrote of his decision: “It was the equivalent of taking a bullet for the country.”
For Bongbong Marcos, statesmanship does not lie in concession, but in principled and sustained protest. Honor lies in exposing a rotten election to the light, rather than in protecting a shameless election system. To do nothing would be to condone the fraud that has been committed. A protest will be a singular service to the nation by uncovering the truth of the election.
Fraud has happened in past Philippine elections, and automation has only made it worse and more brazen.
If we do not move to correct and expose our election system when the cheating is so patent and the evidence of fraud is still smoking, we will never be able to fix the system. And we may never have this opportunity again.
A victorious election protest, honestly and legally won, will be a better legacy to the nation, than the foul bequest of a corrupted and stolen election that BS Aquino will leave behind him.