By Kristina Maralit | Daily Tribune
Still strong in his insistence of being cheated of the vice presidency in the 2016 national elections, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. demanded anew for Smartmatic’s booting as the government’s solutions provider for the 2022 polls.
Marcos asserted that the country “cannot allow Venezuelans to come here and decide for us on who will sit as president, who will sit as vice president, who will be senators or governor.”
Antonio Mugica, born and raised in Venezuela, is the founder and CEO of Smartmatic.
Marcos is in the middle of contesting Vice President Leni Robredo’s victory against him for the second highest seat in the land.
His electoral protest is pending before the Supreme Court (SC) which also sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“How can we allow that? Why did we allow that? Who allowed that?” the former lawmaker expressed during his guesting at Daily Tribune’s “Straight Talk” on Tuesday.
Marcos likewise claimed to having “seen the evidence” of how Smartmatic defrauded “not only the 2016 elections, but the 2010 and 2013 elections” as well.
It is because of this that Marcos wants Smartmatic out for the next national polls. He also alleged that this may not happen due to some parties’ opposition to the call even if it is “not very hard to do.”
He alleged that those opposed to the severance of the agreement with Smartmatic “are the people who have an interest” in keeping the solutions provider because “they want to use it” to their benefit.
“The underlying interest of having Smartmatic there is to fix the elections, that’s the reason that they are there, and that is the reason they have been rejected by many, many constituencies around the world,” asserted Marcos.
“Many states in the United States have banned Smartmatic, even Venezuela, itself, has banned Smartmatic, he said.
“So, here, we Filipinos were already punched in the gut but it seems we want to be punched some more. For the next election… Smartmatic will be used for? To cheat in the election, pure and simple. So, if you want to have Smartmatic there, your intention is to cheat in the election using Smartmatic. The logic is unassailable,” he furthered.
Instead of sticking with Smartmatic, Marcos suggested a “hybrid” way of conducting the polls in 2022.
“We have manual voting, manual counting, and electronic transmission. Hybrid, and you vote like before, you have the counting like before. You have watchers, but there’s an additional feature the tech has moved, livestream it,” he suggested.
By livestreaming the voting and counting processes in rural areas, Marcos said local election officers can then question or correct figures incosistent with the national canvassing of votes.
“The technology exists, let’s use it,” reiterated the former senator.
To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte, in May 2019, himself called on the Commission on Elections to cut its deal with Smartmatic to ensure a “fraud-free” conduct of the 2022 local and national elections.
The Chief Executive said it is “not acceptable” for the government to be associated with any entity “that promotes cheating.”