VP poll protest to cost P2B, Comelec warns SC

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THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has warned the Supreme Court that the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice-President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo could cost more than P2 billion.

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The high court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), last month took note of a Comelec manifestation that it needs to secure 97,366 units of vote-counting machines and the election management system and accessories, which were leased for the May 2016 elections from Smartmatic-TIM, Inc.

Citing its lease contract with Smartmatic, Comelec said it “may be required to pay P2,078,304,225.76 on account of the election protest.”

The poll body attached certified true copies of the financial breakdown agreed upon by the Comelec and Smartmatic, itemizing the costs of the goods “should the Total Purchase Option under the two AES (Automated Election System) contracts be exercised on account of the instant election protest.”

The PET is unable to move on the vice-presidential electoral protest until the Comelec, composed of appointees of the previous Aquino administration led by its chairman, Andres Bautista, complies with an earlier order to protect all election machines and paraphernalia.

Marcos alleges that Robredo benefited from the rigging of the elections done by the Liberal Party headed by former president Benigno Aquino 3rd.

The Comelec also reported to the PET that it would release 1,356 units of supposedly unused vote-counting machines as requested by Smartmatic, arguing that these were not covered by the Precautionary Protection Order issued by the tribunal.

The Marcos camp opposed the move, claiming some machines had been tampered with, but Comelec went ahead and stripped the machines in July.

The PET’s last order was for the preservation of the “automated election equipment and records such as Vote Counting Machines (VCM), Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices in all of the ninety-two thousand five-hundred nine (92,509) clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Tribunal.”

Marcos, who lost the vice-presidential contest by 263,473 votes, accused Robredo and the Liberal Party of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” number of unaccounted votes and “undervotes.”

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30 Comments

  1. Comelec Chairman Bautista whose credibility has been in question, should recuse himself from participating in recounting of ballots, because he is a relative of EX-Pres Aquino , who had announced before the election that Marcos ,Jr must be derailed from winning the VP, . And for Bautista making another excuse warning the Supreme Court that it will cost 2 billion to do a recount of the last May 9 election results , shows he is biased and cannot be trusted to disclose the real and true results for a fair election results .In order to erase the doubts many Filipinos feels about the validity of election results, Supreme Court should not be in any way be influenced by Comelec or any elected politicians like the LP ,if we are to still believe that the SC- the final arbiter will be fair in the end

  2. I think Comelec Bautista is just threatening the cost of 2 billion to dissuade the recounting. In previous recounting of election protest, Comelec will just assign in-charged in the recounting supervised by the Comelec court with 3 persons and a lawyer hired by both candidates to clarify discrepancy of the ballots until the manual counting is finished. Before each person is paid ranging from 600.00 to 800.00 per day excluding the pay of the lawyer. It’s very expensive. Recounting of votes is disadvantageous to Leny Robredo unless someone will shoulder the expenses. I can’t imagine why Comelec will incur 2 billion pesos.

  3. Marcos should pay the expense incurred for his cheating allegation case. Should the SC find credence to the allegations, then and only then can Marcos ask for proportionate reimbursement for the expenses incurred.

    BIG money (most probably plundered by the Marcos clan) is being used to propel this case. If it were somebody else who lost the VP race, there will be no such brouhaha allegations. A script is a script. Data is data. Marcos should shoulder the expense of showing the cosmetic script correction done was able to manipulate the data.

  4. Now Comelec is worried about the cost of 2 billion pesos, which a small price to pay if he truth will prevail. In the first place, there should be no protest nor cost if the contract for the electronic counting machines was NOT awarded to Smartmatic. Remember, there were cheaper and more easy-to-use machines invented by 2 Filipino engineers, but the Comelec ignored their proposals because they already made a deal with Smartmatic to rig the elections. About 20 billion pesos from the Yolanda funds are still unaccounted for and nobody made a fuss about it and Comelec is crying out loud for the 2 billion peso cost for the electoral protest? Likewise, how much money was allocated for PDAF and DAP that went to the pockets of corrupt politicians?

  5. jaime dela Cruz on

    The recount must continue and if found guilty of cheating, Robredo’s camp must pay the P2 billion. Our democracy should not have a price tag.

  6. Parang ibig sabihin ng Comelec huwag nang dinggin ang protesta dahil mahal ang gagastusin masyado yatang halata na ayaw ng Comelec na lumabas ang totoo na nagamit sila sa pandaraya.

  7. Who has the history of cheating and plundering? Let the petitioner shoulder the expenses. After all, he and his family still owes the Filipino people great amount of monies.

  8. Ask the petitioner to shoulder the expenses, after all, he and his family still owes the Filipinos… not just monies but lives lost because of their plundering.

  9. I don’t believe COMELEC is not aware of the cost should a protest be forwarded by any of the candidates. COMELEC is a big time IDIOT if they failed to put this amount on their budget. Bottom line is let the truth come out at any cost. BAUTISTA and his cohorts should be hanged to death if they really spearheaded the rigging of the last elections specifically for the VP.

  10. Smart way to discourage the other side to pursue their protest. Short of saying it is alright to cheat in every election because it is too expensive for the cheated party tofinance the recount. For its dismal handling of the process, Comelec should be required to shoulder the expenses.

  11. nasaan ka leni on

    bilib naman ako sa kapal ng mukha ng comelec to warn the SC. they should shoulder the cost sila naman ang pumayag na manloko at kumita sa mga katarantaduhan nila.

  12. Let smartmatic shoulder the cost….sila ang gumamawa ng katarantatuhan kaya meeong protesta….

  13. the two billion doesn’t matter so as truthfulness of the May 09,2016 election will come out, now the people convince today that we cannot rely PCOs machine because as long as it is manage by human being fraud is possible in all election ” for people in the administration who can still manipulate the result, then right of suffrage is a mockery

  14. On the recount, Smartmatic must not be allowed to get involved. Bautista and his minions also must not be allowed near the ballots.

  15. 2 billion eh? Isnt that the amount Comelec still owes Smartmatic? Smartmatic threatened to spill the beans if Comelec dont pay the amount of 2B. The nerve! All of Comelec should be hanged, drawned, and quartered. They deserve no less for this evil.

    • Agnes Soriano on

      Fully agree, LP’s Comelec must pay the price, they’re crooked and corrupt officials after all. Bautista itself is an evil man so with Pnoy!

  16. Leodegardo M. Pruna on

    The Comelec chaired by Mr. Bautista and its members were all appointees of P-Noy. They especially Mr. Baustista wants to shelve and threatened about the huge cost of a recount mentioning about the machines. He would want us to believe that the machines will have to be used in the recount which is utterly false. The machines came out faulty with Mr. Baustista and cohorts allowing the “COSMETIC” surgery they did and allowed to be done in the script of the counting machines. The machines became a factor of large scale corruption of the counting and program. THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE MACHINES AS COUNTING COULD BE DONE MANUALLY. Time is of the essence and manual counting should be started without delay to finally resolve the issue. With commissioners such as the chairman, we need God to save the Philippines.

    • Sithel Silvanesti on

      It is not just counting… The machines will be the object of forensic investigation. Take note that bongbong did not pursue for a recount. His protest is pertaining to fraud on the misuse of VCM and its “features” ballot/sd card and its ability to correctly count votes

  17. When was the upholding of our democracy given a price tag ? Lives were lost to win and preserve it in the past, now we are treating it as something that must have a Return On Investment (ROI) or material profit in short ? Kung ganoon eh di pala natin deserve ang ating democracy. How sad !

  18. That contract between COMELEC and Smartmatic was premeditated for cheating. It is impossible that the COMELEC could have not thought factoring in the contract the possibility of electoral protest. This is treasonous as it may have subverted the suffrage of the people.

  19. It does not matter if you spend billions as long as truth will come out, ask Marcos and Robredo and other petitioners including Comelec to shoulder the amount.

  20. Since these machines were used for all the candidates then it should also investigate all the winners including Duterte..Why Mar Roxas didn’t win as well if there is alleged manipulation of ballots after all Leni and Mar are in the same party?

    • Leodegardo M. Pruna on

      Why touch the others when it is only the VP position that is under question.

    • asa pa tong ulul nato na mananalo si roxas…dinaya nyo na nga lang kay leni asa ka pang nanalo si roxas kahit binawasan na ng 4M votes si digong…

    • ang hirap mo namang umintindi… pwede ba nilang dayain si duterte sa ganoong kalaking agwat ng botong nakuha. ??? kunf 100 thousand o isang milyon o tatlong milyon lang yun di si mar or poe sana nanalo. (parang ung nagyari kay aquino nung 2010)

  21. Emilio Bonifacio on

    These bleeding hearts should assume the 2 billion cost of election protest. If they did not orchestrate the massive poll cheating there should have been no protest to speak of.

    • Sithel Silvanesti on

      “The cheating part” is the subject for investigation, The investigation is aimed to know whether or not poll cheating was indeed orchestrated. Only then can sanctions be applied to the guilty parties