Interview with Pinky Webb of CNN Philippines
Pinky Web: …With the quick count of the PPCRV, and you have requested them to stop. Are you going to file a formal complaint regarding this?
BBM: No, we have sent Comelec a letter and given our reasons why and the reasons are very simple. The transparency server is there to show that the process is transparent. However, in previous elections, the practice is to stop it at 82% of reporting. And the reason is simple: If they continue to collate the results until 100%, and those results do not coincide with the official results, there will be doubt and confusion in voter’s minds. That’s what we want to avoid. We are saying that we should go with the usual practice, now at 90%. Now, this is the first time this is happening in any other election. Before it was 81-82%. The transparency server would stop reporting. So we wonder first of all, why? And secondly perhaps we should go back to the usual practice of stopping it before so that there is no confusion between the quick count and the official count.
Webb: What did the Comelec say about this?
BBM: Thus far, they have said the transparency server…I don’t know. As of yesterday, they have said “no.” They will not stop it. We are still asking them to stop the continuing collation of the quick count.
Webb: So, no reason why in the past it has always been below 85% and now it’s above 90%?
BBM: There’s no reason being given to us and we cannot discern a reason for it. Why should we differ from the practice of the previous elections?
Webb: Let me ask you, if you were, I’m going to turn the tables around, if you were the one leading, you’re number one right now and Congresswoman Leni is number two…
BBM: Absolutely. It’s the irregularity we’re after. As you can see, we’re following the usual practice, we’re not deviating from what we used to do before. Before, we’re comfortable with the process because we know that process. Now, we’ve changed it and so, we would like to know the reason why. This is different from other elections. Number one, why there is that difference? Unfortunately, Comelec has not given us an answer.
Webb: But they have given your camp a server. I think it’s called a mirror server to look into the data that’s being transmitted. Would that be enough for you?
BBM: No. The mirror is for…they do not give the particular candidate a mirror server. We are allowed one watcher. The transparency server is mirrored in the mirror server. So, what we’re saying is that there are several irregularities. Number one, our exit polls in the past elections have also been quite accurate, except now. The exit polls appear to be completely wrong compared to what the Comelec has reported. Number two; there is that very disturbing incidence where at 07:30 pm on May 9, the Comelec stopped reporting about an hour and at that point I was leading close to a million votes. From that point on, my lead started to diminish until finally at about 03-03:30 the following morning, my lead had turned to 0 and I was overtaken. So, why would there be a pattern of improvement and then suddenly it would change? We actually have done a statistical analysis and it is a 180 degree change in terms of direction. I’m talking about the difference between myself and other candidates. And everything changed up to that point. We don’t understand why there was a change in the protocol. The hash codes were changed. There was a change in the script which is the code that identifies where the results are coming from. Now, there is no incident report. There are reasons, let’s say something happened, that there needs to be that change. We cannot find any incident that happened at 07:30-08:30 that would justify that change.
Webb: So, it changed when you started to…
BBM: First, it changed and then the numbers started to…my increasing numbers suddenly started to decrease when the hash codes were changed, the script was changed by Comelec.
Webb: But how did you know that?
BBM: We were given this information by someone who analyzes all these and who has access to the hash codes. They do not want to be named because they’re still working.
Webb: Is this the evidence you’re saying that number one, let me first lay down the premise: are you saying that cheating occurred?
BBM: I’m saying we need explanations. Why did this happen? There is no incident that would justify the change in the hash codes. That is something we cannot understand. The coincidence in the timing is a little bit disturbing, I have to say. It only happened after there was a technical problem that was announced. The transmissions were stopped. The hash codes were changed and the results started to change. So, you and I have been around this kind of thing enough. It’s hard to believe that something that coincidental could have happened.
Webb: Let me bring in, Senator, the explanation of Congresswoman Leni Robredo in her press conference yesterday. We understand that you were leading. We know that. We actually interviewed you, Pia was able to interview you Monday night. And the run-up to 12 midnight the gap started to reduce…
BBM: It started to reduce right after the change in the hash code.
Webb: But she was saying that the reason you were leading was because in the provinces or in the areas you were strong, those were the ones that were being transmitted. And then when she started to take the lead or your lead was being diminished, doon sa mga malalakas na area, doon pumapasok yung sa kanya.
BBM: Yes, that is true in a sense. It’s not as if they were transmitted fully. The assumption is that let’s say that Northern Luzon came in 100 percent. And other places, they came in first, but they were merely 5%. In fact, many of the areas I consider my strong areas, there are still on hold, Isabela, Pangasinan, are not yet reported completely. Ilocos Norte, until last not night have not yet reported completely. That is not an explanation simply because they came in first. They came in first because of their physical proximity to Manila. But what happens in terms of actual number of reports coming in, that’s not necessarily the case. There were areas that had not yet transmitted in the north while there were already transmittals coming in from other places. That does not really explain still the sudden change. And why just after the change in the protocol? Essentially what they did was a change in protocol and I can understand why PPCRV would stop. I think PPCRV has done a fine job. They reported as quickly as possible. They have been rigorous in saying that they only look at ERs and that has been a good security matter. But the problem is the change from Comelec and that’s why it’s Comelec where we’ve been asking to clarify and to explain to us…
Webb: And they have not explained that?
BBM: They have not explained it.
Webb: Okay. But you’re also hoping that a lot of the Overseas Absentee Voters will come in?
BBM: Yes, and that has been a problem because, right now, it is being reported that it is coming in whereas it has only been 19%. We are also wondering why it is being said 95% of precincts have reported where we know for a fact that more than 95% have yet to transmit simple because for whatever reason the machine broke, there was a delay and so, they have yet to transmit. What Comelec is reporting is already 95%. But we know that 95% have not yet reported. Where is that figure coming from?
Webb: So, you’re not saying that cheating is occurring?
BBM: We’re saying that there is a lot of explaining. And again, the coincidences are a bit too much to take at face value. We need to see further and look further into it.
Webb: There was also supposedly this plan, well, yesterday, Congresswoman Leni Robredo said the alleged cheating plan of LP to impeach Duterte, she tried to explain that both are not true because even if you look at social media, all your supporters want a recount of the VP.
BBM: No, no, no, no. We’re not asking for a recount. There’s no count yet. How can there be a recount? The quick count is not an official count as you can see. You have all been very, very clear that it is partial and unofficial. Until the official count comes in, you cannot have a recount. So, we’re not asking for a recount.
Webb: So, what happens at the end of the PPCRV quick count? Congresswoman Leni Robredo is still on top.
BBM: Well, it is still a quick count. We will still rely on the official count at which point we can look at COCs, we can look at ERs, we can bring in all the information we have gathered at that time from the local observers, from local watchers, all of this information we can put together and see if it matches. It’s that simple. Right now, what we’re seeing coming out of the Comelec is not necessarily the same as what we’re getting from local reports. Therefore, there is a very clear attempt to manipulate Mindanao votes. There’s so much going on down there that clearly you can see, for example, I got a call today from a mayor in Lanao Del Sur where in one town the two of us had about the same number of votes where he said that “The only person they campaigned for was you. There’s not a single poster of anybody but you. And yet we have the same amount.”
Webb: Who? You and?
BBM: Robredo. There are other areas where all the other vice presidential candidates are 0 except her so, we’re going to look into that. There are many other areas that are still in doubt as to the real numbers are…
Webb: But Senator, if anyone were to ask you, what would be the strongest evidence that you have right now?
BBM: As I said, I don’t want to go half-cocked. There’s no point arguing with the PPCRV. They report the information that they get and they’re doing a fine job. No complaints about that. But it is the actual information we’re starting to see anomalies, glitches, all kinds of strange occurrences that have now yet to be explained.
Webb: But do you have anyone as of know who would open and approve obvious dubios activities?
BBM: They have yet to come out in the open wherever they are…
Webb: How many are they so far?
BBM: I’d rather not say.
Webb: But just so it’s clear, the official count, when does that begin, sir? Diba that’s May 25?
BBM: May 23. When we come back.
Webb: Am I seeing a scenario once the count happens, your battery of lawyers will start questioning certain returns?
BBM: Well, if we feel the need to, then certainly. It’s perfectly natural to say that those new hash codes, we don’t know where they came from because the hash codes are established very early on. They have not been ever changed in the middle of the counting. But now they have changed so we don’t know, unless we have an explanation from Comelec beforehand.
Webb: About the hash codes?
BBM: About the hash codes.
Webb: For me, sir, it’s hard to grasp the hash codes, the change in the hash codes.
BBM: The hash codes are essentially the identifying; it’s part of the protocol of transmitting the vote count. And it tells you that this information is coming from a particular machine in a particular precinct. And that changed. If, for example, the machine broke, we had to replace it, there would be an incident report and on the basis of that incident report, Comelec would say “we have to change it,” because the identifying serial number has changed. But in this case, we haven’t seen an incident report.
Webb: So, are you telling me that the hash codes were intentionally changed?
BBM: The hash codes have to be intentionally changed because somebody has to change it.
Webb: Exactly. Are you saying that the hash codes were intentionally changed to manipulate the results?
BBM: I’m saying that the hash codes changed. We do not know why. We do not know what caused it. We know that only Comelec can do it. And we also know that after the hash codes were changed, the patterns of voting have turned 180 degrees.
Webb: And you have a person who will attest to the change in the hash codes?
BBM: Yes, I do. I actually have more than one.
Webb: Are they from the Comelec?
BBM: I’d rather not say. But when the time comes, of course we will use that information to explain it to us.
Webb: Senator, what is important for you is the official count?
BBM: In truth, that is the only one that matters. This is problematic. This is disturbing because it has been a pattern of trending that has been going on from the last week of the campaign and ongoing up to now. And I’m saying are you trying to trend, put in people’s minds, for example, after the quick count, you’ll say. This is the result, so yun na. But no. What really matters is what happens to the official canvassing.
Webb: When will it get to a point sir that you will accept the result of the official canvassing?
BBM: When I am satisfied that the results that are being counted, that are official, are actually validated by the results as we can validate it from local reports that we get from the different precincts.
Webb: Sir, when you are running this campaign till the time you voted, did you have this feeling that there could possibly be something wrong that could be going on?
BBM: No, because of course we are not privy to any of the things, we were not part of the process of the decision-making or the policy decisions that are being made, so we don’t know. But put it this way, for some people if there is a way to cheat, they will. So again that’s the attitude with which I approach the whole thing, so you have to just be very, very careful. And that’s what we have been, and this is what we’ve been now.
Webb: So, if I were to ask you sir, because ang kalaban niyo lang naman ngayon sir si Congresswoman Leni Robredo, I hope you don’t mind me asking this question, do you think she’s capable of actually—I can’t use the word cheating because you’re not using that—of suspicious, or her camp of suspicious activities?
BBM: Not her, I don’t think she’s aware of any of this. I honestly believe she’s not, she would not be part of any such sinister plot. But I don’t know if I could say the same for the people that are around her campaign.
Webb: Are we talking about the party, or the administration?
BBM: Well the party is the administration.
Webb: Exactly, I would rather hear it from you sir?
BBM: I cannot imagine that it would come from another party, that to assist a candidate would come from some other party. You could not imagine that somebody from UNA or somebody from Nacionalista, would do this.
Webb: Just very quickly sir, some were asking if Sen. Bongbong Marcos accepts the results of the presidential election, why is he not accepting the result of the vice presidential…?
BBM: No, there are also questions why the movement in the presidential results coincides exactly almost to the change in hash codes. If we look at the presidential it also changed very very quickly, the same time. When my votes started to go down, the presidential shall we say ranking changed as well.
Webb: So we’re talking about from number two to three, nagpalit po sila?
BBM: Baligtad, number three to two.
Webb: Yeah, well Secretary Roxas became number two, Sen. Grace Poe became number three, nagpalit yung ranking na yun.
BBM: Tingnan nyo sa oras,pare-pareho, see? Yun na nga kaya’t I’m sure nobody will say that is is unusual for us to…what’s happening there. This is highly unusual, it has not been explained. And to paraphrase ….the numbers don’t add up.
Webb: It’s a wait and see, I guess it’s really wait and see from your end?
BBM: No, we’re not sitting back and just waiting. We’re gathering as much….
Webb: You’re waiting also for the official count?
BBM: We will have to wait, we’ll wait upon that schedule. But we are at the moment getting all the information, all the ER’s we can get, all the SOV’s, the COC’s—all of the documents we are getting and we are getting them from the source, which is out in the countryside.
Webb: Sir, have you spoken to Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago?
BBM: Yes, I have.
Webb: She seems to be backing you?
BBM: Oh yeah, she says it looks a great deal what happened to me when I ran for president—this is what she told me. And she says be very very sure, you will win; she said you will win the elections; you will win the voting but make sure you do not lose the count. And I always take Sen. Miriam’s advice very seriously.
Webb: How about Mayor Duterte have you spoken to him?
BBM: Not, no. I have spoken to pretty much everyone around him to extend my congratulations and to wish him well. I think that he’s in the process now preparing himself to take on the mantle of presidency.
Webb: Because sir we understand that if you lose this would be your last term as senator?
BBM: Yes, well I’m not at the end of my term as senator. I could have run for senator again.
Webb: Yeah, I mean it’s the last of your 6 years.
BBM: Yes, I’m a private citizen.
Webb: You’re going back to private life sir?
BBM: No, I’m going to fight for every single vote that was cast in my favor and I’m convinced and I know in my heart of hearts that I won this election.
Webb: Last question sir, you know, you feel that you won the vice presidential race, correct sir?
BBM: Well on the basis of, not just a feel or intuitive reaction but on the basis of information that I have gathered all throughout the last 6 months.
Webb: How many votes do you think yung lamang po ninyo?
BBM: Oh that’s a tough one.
Webb: If you were to estimate, because you’ve done you know the surveys and all, kung mananalo kayo and you knew that you were gonna win, ano po yung dapat na approximate na lamang ninyo kay Cong. Leni Robredo?
BBM: Mahirap, ang hirap magsabi dahil depende kung saan mo pagbabasehan. If you look at the patterns in the survey it gives you one number; if you look at the patterns on the voting returns it gives you a not so different, but different. But it depends on what you base it on, if you base it on pure pattern then it gives you one number, but if you base it on let us say province by province, for example, ilan kaya ang napanalo ko dyan sa probinsyang iyan, dito ilan, isasama-sama ko, it gives you another number. So it’s not a simple calculation.
Webb: I guess hindi pa kayo nakakatulog becaue of this seeming controversy, that neck and neck fight?
BBM: Not yet. But staying up late and having very little sleep is something I got very accustomed to during the campaign so no problem there.
Webb: Senator Bongbong Marcos thank you for giving us your time.
BBM: Maraming salamat.