By Dahli Aspillera | Malaya
THE Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) has called on the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to expedite election protest cases saying anyone who has not been elected by the people should have no place in government.
“I hope they (PET) will act more expeditiously for the simple reason that anyone who is not truly elected by the people to me is a bogus official, just a great pretender who has no right in the government. So the faster we do it, the better,” PHILCONSA Chairman Manuel “Lolong” Lazaro declared in an interview during his group’s monthly membership meeting at the Manila Golf and Country Club in Makati City.
He pointed out that PHILCONSA in tandem with the Tanggulang Demokrasya Inc. is now in the process of coming up with recommendations on how to expedite election protest cases to “weed out interlopers or pseudo-officials elected through the OMR (optical mark recognition machines).”
PHILCONSA invited as guest of honor and speaker, a noted expert in the nuances of a clean, honest election, how to remove fast interlopers or great pretenders in the government Glenn Chong, a former Representative of the lone district of Biliran, pointed out that the courts, including the PET, have been unwitting tools in the cheating because it takes them a long time to resolve election protest cases.
“On the average election contests covering the presidential elections take about 3 to 4 years to get resolved and in all cases, the protest is overtaken by the next elections where the protestant chose to run for and assume another position whereby rendering the protest moot and academic.
“For the vice presidency, the case filed by Senator [Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’] Marcos has not gotten past the preliminary conference stage one year to the day after it was filed. We have not gotten forward yet.”
Chong also noted that since 2010, they have filed several cases against Comelec and Smartmatic but almost all have not been acted upon. He said the failure of the concerned government bodies to act on their complaints and petitions had emboldened cheaters in government and the “mafia” to continue with manipulating the elections so that by 2016, Chong said, they have perfected their cheating machinery through automation.
“The mafia in Comelec with Smartmatic always got away with their lies because our government agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice and even the Supreme Court have failed to act with dispatch on our complaints,” Chong lamented.
Lazaro said Chong’s presentation bolstered PHILCONSA’s resolve to push for amendments in the Automated Election System (AES) law to include, among others, punishing any act that interferes in the substantive and procedural due process requirements in violation of laws, rules and regulations as a non-bailable offense punishable by reclusion temporal or perpetua, depending on the magnitude of the offense committed the election process.
Lazaro further stated that PHILCONSA will push for a “hybrid” form of election replacing the current full automation system. “For one thing, I never believed in automated elections. I’ve always been for hybrid elections meaning manual voting, manual counting, but automated transmission. We are preparing that, and will support amending the present automation law.” Lazaro also remarked that in Germany, automated election was considered unconstitutional.
Also present during the PHILCONSA meeting were Evelyn Kilayko, and Teresita Baltazar, Chairperson and President respectively of Tanggulang Demokrasya (TanDem), and Information Technology experts Maricor Akol of the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel), Lito Averia, and Prof. Edmundo “Toti” Casino, former president of the Philippine Computer Society. They all agreed that there was massive and systematic cheating in the last three automated elections, especially in the 2016 polls.