Marcos campaign adviser raises questions on integrity of May polls

Abakada Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz, Campaign Adviser of Vice Presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. today raised questions on the integrity of the May 2016 elections although he said they respect the decision of the National Board of Canvassers.

The NBOC today proclaimed Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as the duly elected President and Vice President, respectively.

In a speech before the House of Representatives approving the resolution proclaiming the winners, Dela Cruz said that for now “partisan feelings must yield to patriotic duty.”

“While I strongly disagree with the National Board of Canvassers count, I accept it, we accept it. I offer our congratulations and Godspeed,” he said.

However, he called for a united effort to correct the “infirmities” of the country’s automated election system since it was first used in 2008, and in subsequent elections until the May 9, 2016 polls. He noted that no less than former Commission on Elections Commissioner Christian Monsod said the various concerns raised by various parties have damaged the integrity of the AES.

“Clearly the system as we know it and as implemented in the past three automated elections by the Comelec and its technology partner, a company now known as “Smart magic” has proven to be vulnerable to external interference. It is vulnerable to rigging and manipulations,” Dela Cruz said.

He said they will prove this accusation at the proper time and forum.

Dela Cruz said Comelec should answer various questions, including what it has done about reports on alleged vote-buying, including the incident in Pikit, North Cotabato, whose video has gone viral in social media.

“Did the Comelec comply with the testing and sealing rules prior to issuing the authority for the system to be operated? I was told there were hosts of issues and concerns that remained unanswered,” he said.

Likewise, he noted reports that 30 Consolidation and Canvassing System servers were brought to a Smartmatic warehouse in Sta. Rosa but no report was given to the public as to what was done with them.

“Just this morning three whistle blowers publicly stated that there was a rogue canvassing center in Quezon which, ostensibly intercepted the results and consolidated the same and spewed these out with controversial results. Again this must be looked into,” he said.

In addition, he cited the change in the script of the transparency server that Smartmatic technician Marlon Garcia made without proper authorization from the Comelec en banc. While the poll body claimed it only resulted to cosmetic changes, Dela Cruz said many IT experts don’t buy this.

He stressed that Garcia was accused of doing similar unauthorized actions in the 2008, 2010 and 2013 polls.

Moreover, Dela Cruz insisted that the Comelec must allow a system audit after the canvassing is over, despite its rejection of Marcos’ request that such an audit be done earlier.

Dela Cruz also said the unusually-high number of undervotes, which reached around 3.5 million is another factor that raised question on the results of the election.

Given the slim margin between the top two vice presidential contenders of just over 260,000 votes, Dela Cruz said such an audit gains more significance “to ensure that no iota of doubt can be handed over to the mandate given to the two top officials of the land.”

Because of all these irregularities, Dela Cruz said they would urge the new Administration not to allow Smartmatic again to take part in the country’s electoral process.

To all these questions raised on the conduct of the 2016 automated elections Dela Cruz said the people deserve honest and responsive answers.

“They may not get the answers now but we will not stand still. We will start to sift the truth and provide the answers to the myriad questions, which had come and continue to come,” Dela Cruz said.

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