Tatad lawyer backs Marcos’ poll fraud claim
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - May 15, 2016 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The lawyer of former senator Francisco Tatad yesterday supported allegations of cheating in last week’s general polls by vice-presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

This developed as the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) claimed that Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo actually led in the first 11 hours of the vote count with 14,000 votes, and continues to lead the quick count.

However, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stood pat on his decision not to concede, pending the transmission of remaining votes from the vote counting machines.

Atty. Manuelito Luna claimed that he personally witnessed electronic fraud in the canvassing of votes in at least two provinces in Mindanao.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes how hundreds to thousands of votes got electronically altered during the process of transmission and manual importation,” he told The STAR.

Luna, who actively pursued the disqualification of Sen. Grace Poe in the presidential election before the Commission on Elections and the Supreme Court, said the cheating happened in Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat. He was there to witness the canvassing as a lawyer of several candidates.

“This is by far the best evidence how canvassed results could be changed and, thus, wreak havoc on the electoral system and, worse, cause the defeat of national and local candidates. This is one damning evidence that might prove Bongbong Marcos’ claim of results manipulation,” the lawyer alleged.

For instance, he said the results transmitted from Isulan town to the provincial board of canvassers (PBOC) “did not actually match the true canvassed results at the municipal level, prompting me to bring it to the attention of the PBOC who, together with the municipal board concerned, undertook corrective measures.”

“In Maguindanao, (Rep.) Leni Robredo won by a wide margin due to massive substitute voting. It is as if no election took place there,” he stressed.

He said he would be willing to testify and support his statement at a proper forum.

“I can lend my expertise and experience in election law as a counsel or resource person, but not strictly as a witness,” he vowed.

Last week, Luna complained about the delay in consolidating and canvassing results in the PBOC in Sultan Kudarat supposedly due to “connectivity and importation challenges.”

“In three days, only 64 percent of the results coming from the municipal boards of canvassers were canvassed by the PBOC. Consequently, the transmission of results for president, vice-president, senators and party list to the national board of canvassers and the Congress was likewise delayed.”

He said the municipalities of Bagumbayan, Columbio, Esperanza, Isulan, Kalamansig, Lambayong, Lebak, Lutayan, Palembang, President Quirino, Ninoy Aquino and Tacurong involved about 400,000 votes.

Luna represented congressional candidate (First District) Suharto Mangudadatu, vice-gubernatorial candidate Raden Sakaluran and gubernatorial candidate Pax Mangudadatu in the province.

The camp of Marcos, who is in a neck-and-neck race with Robredo, earlier claimed cheating in the canvassing of votes after his one-million advantage in the quick count disappeared overnight. Robredo has since maintained her margin of around 200,000 votes over Marcos.

Robredo led in first 11 hours

However, Robredo was leading in the race for vice president, edging Marcos with over 14,000 votes in the first 11 hours of transmission after the polls closed on May 9.

Data provided by the PPCRV on Saturday showed that Robredo already had 12,938,123 votes from 5 p.m. of May 9 to 3 a.m. of May 10. Marcos, on the other hand, received 12,923,246 votes.

This means that Robredo edged Marcos by 14,877 votes on the first 11 hours of the transmission of results after precincts closed.

On the first five hours of transmission or from 5 to 9 p.m. of May 9, Marcos was leading Robredo by 841,114 votes.

But in the next six hours, or from 10 p.m. of May 9 to 3 a.m. of May 10, Robredo took over the lead with 855,990 votes over Marcos.

Robredo surged past Marcos for the top spot at 3 a.m.

During the first 11-hour period, Robredo led in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, Negros Island, Southern Tagalog (both Calabarzon and Mimaropa), Bicol, Western and Central Visayas, Zamboanga, Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions.

Marcos, meanwhile, led in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Metro Manila, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Eastern Visayas, Davao and Soccsksargen regions. He also dominated the votes among overseas Filipinos.

Meanwhile, from 4 a.m. of May 10 to 4 a.m. of May 11, Robredo consistently led with 999,126 votes, and Marcos with 790,069 votes. This means a 209,057-vote lead for Robredo during this period.

Moreover, from 5 a.m. of May 11 to 2 p.m. of May 13 when votes started coming in trickles, Robredo still led with 70,173 votes while Marcos got 68,840. This means a 1,333-vote gap for Robredo.

The PPCRV officials gave copies of the spreadsheets containing the data – including  the breakdown of votes per region and per date and time – to reporters on Saturday to show there was no election fraud.

As of 12:45 a.m. yesterday, Robredo was leading with 14,020,597 votes, and Marcos still second with 13,802,544 votes.

Bongbong not conceding

Marcos, however, said he is not yet conceding defeat.

He heard mass yesterday at the Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, where  he urged  his supporters to continue praying that the true will of the people will prevail.

Accompanied by his wife Lisa, son Sandro and mother, former first lady and Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, the senator arrived in the jam-packed church past noon.

After the mass, supporters chanting “BBM” and flashing the victory sign mobbed the Marcoses as they went out of the church.

Despite  the concerns he has raised over the results of the ongoing quick count, Marcos said his volunteers and supporters deserve commendation for helping him in the campaign and keeping the faith as he fights for the integrity of the elections.

“I want to profusely thank our volunteers and our supporters for their selfless act of giving their time and effort in helping ensure free, honest and credible elections,” Marcos said.

Marcos earlier urged the Comelec to stop the ongoing quick count of the PPCRV after reports that a script was introduced into the transparency server of the poll body that altered the hash codes without prior authorization from Comelec. Marcos’ lead started to peter out afterward.

Marcos said the prayers and words of encouragement of his volunteers and supporters nationwide continue to inspire him to keep on seeking the truth.

Marcos appealed for continued vigilance not only from his supporters but also from  the election watchdogs as well, as he cited reports that as of Friday over 3,800 vote counting machines (VCMs) still could not transmit election results.

“With a considerable number of votes that have yet to be transmitted, we have to remain vigilant, yet calm and sober, to ensure that the true will of the people will be reflected in the results of the elections,” Marcos said.

“A total of 555 VCMs from polling precincts in the Middle East and Africa still have to transmit results, 310 from North and Latin America, 339 from Asia and 152 from Europe. These VCMs should supposedly account for around 980,000 registered voters,” he said.

He added that 333 VCMs from Lanao del Sur still need to transmit election results, as do 207 from Surigao del Sur, 158 in Maguindanao and 160 in Sulu.

“I will rest when I am satisfied that the results that are being counted, that are official, are actually validated by the results as we can with certainty confirm it from local reports that we get from the different precincts,” Marcos  said. – With Ghio Ong, Perseus Echeminada

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