Mark his words: Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos is not giving up the fight even though his closest rival Rep. Leni Robredo has claimed victory, and will fight tooth and nail to protect each vote as the official count has yet to end.
At the same time, Marcos thanked migrant workers for reposing their trust in him, two days after the Commission on Elections said he had beaten Robredo - who is leading by over 200,000 in the partial, unofficial PPCRV quick count - in the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV).
Marcos said in a statement on Tuesday: "I am extremely grateful for the overwhelming display of trust and confidence our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) have given me, as shown in the results of the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV). As our country’s new heroes, they deserve more from the government and they can always count on my support."
The senator likewise thanked his Ilocano regionmates in the far north, as heat maps generated on the basis of the PPCRV count - with 96 percent of results transmitted - showed him leading in the provinces of Northern Luzon. The heat maps also showed him strong in Metro Manila, though Robredo led in more provinces overall.
"I’d like to express my gratitude too for the Ilocano voters who have rallied behind our call for a revived and stronger Solid North, voters in the National Capital Region who gave me a clear majority, and all the voters all over the country who supported me and my call for national unity," Marcos said.
But, he added, "this trust bestowed in me also carries with it the responsibility to protect each and every vote cast for me. Rest assured, I will do everything in my power to ensure that in the end the true will of the Filipino people will prevail in this election."
Last week, the Marcos camp stirred a hornet's nest when it drew attention to a change in the hash code in the transparency server of the PPCRV at Pius XII Center in Manila, raising the possibility of tampering. The Marcos camp noted that after this tweaking was done at 7:30 pm of May 9, the votes for Marcos stalled and those for Robredo, who was trailing, surged.
The Robredo camp countered that Marcos' votes in fact continued to surge way past 7:30pm, with his lead over his Liberal Party rival even peaking at over 1.9 million at 8:30pm. The Robredo camp noted the influx of votes is beyond PPCRV's control, so it appeared that when Marcos was leading in the first several hours, it was because the first election returns reflected on the PPCRV server came from his bailiwicks.
The Comelec's main technology supplier, Smartmatic, explained that it just adjusted the computer command because the "ñ" was being read as a question mark ("?"), and that the figures were untouched. A similar check by IT experts of independent watchdog Namfrel also said the data was intact, but raised concern over Smartmatic's unilateral act without notifying the Comelec en banc.
The Comelec is investigating Smartmatic's actions, and has threatened its vendor with sanctions.