The Leni Robredo fraud

Tuesday April 24, 2018 ()

Wet ballots, according to Romulo Macalintal, the lawyer of Leni Robredo, whose election is being challenged by Senator Bongbong Marcos who lost the vice-presidential election in 2016, is a normal occurrence. He wants us to believe that rain water is like a missile with a homing device that selectively penetrates the roofs of storage facilities and conveniently finds its target in water-proofed ballot boxes, not all but only those that have suspicious undervotes or excess ballots.

Macalintal thinks we are that stupid to buy his canard.

Now comes the issue of the insufficiency of the shading of ballots which oddly only afflicts Robredo voters. The Robredo camp is appealing the decision of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to use the 50 percent shading threshold as minimum requirement in the manual revision of contested ballots. The Robredo camp argues that what should be used is 25 percent which is what they claim the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) approved for the 2016 elections.

The Robredo fraud

The facts, however, as cited by the PET contradict the Robredo position. In the 2010 and 2013 automated elections, the minimum threshold that was used was 50 percent. There is no record that the COMELEC changed this to 25 percent to apply to the 2016 elections. A minimum threshold is not merely a technical issue. It has to be deliberately decided in a consultative and transparent manner before the elections considering that it will have to be programmed into the vote counting machines. Without a formal resolution from COMELEC, the PET correctly inferred that the 50 percent threshold used in prior elections is still in force. This is also what the parties and candidates would have assumed. After all, the COMELEC will not make a significant change without publicly disclosing it and without public consultation.

Marcos filed his electoral protest in June 2016, and at the time the PET already acquired jurisdiction over the case. The PET, in the performance if its duties and functions, issued its own rules where the minimum threshold of 50 percent was used. Both Marcos and Robredo camps were fully aware of these rules.

It is therefore patently irregular for the COMELEC to have issued a resolution acknowledging a memorandum by one of its commissioners mentioning a 25 percent threshold only on September 6, 2016, which was four months after the elections. This, even as COMELEC Executive Director Tolentino admitted that the poll body does not have guidelines for a manual recount. "The project management office for the 2016 automated election system has not provided guidelines on manual counting," he said.

A close perusal of the COMELEC resolution and the memorandum of Commissioner Guia also reveals that the 25 percent was intended not for manual recounts in the context of election protests, but for random manual audits which have no bearing on these protests.

Robredo makes it appear that the decision by the PET to uphold the minimum shading threshold of 50 percent is unfair to her. It behooves us to ask how it can be unfair when it applies to both Marcos and Robredo.

Robredo wants us to believe that imposing a 50 percent minimum threshold will affect only her votes. She is therefore implying that only her voters had the habit of not following instructions on how to shade the ovals properly, despite the massive information and education campaigns about it. And to think that this is already the third time we went through automated voting using the same technology and the same kind of ballots.

Robredo has to explain to us what it was about her voters that made them behave contrary to the normal behavior of spending time to carefully and properly shade the ovals sufficiently to ensure that votes will be correctly read by the machines. In fact, those who voted can attest that the markers used in the precincts have large tips, and it would be difficult to just shade less than 25 percent of the ovals. Hence, it is psychologically and physically improbable for a normal voter using the provided marker to fail to comply with the 50 percent minimum shading threshold.

Unless Robredo is willing to admit that her voters did not behave normally, or that they only marked the ballots instead of shading these, or they did so under conditions or in places other than those that existed in normal precincts using markers that were not officially provided by the board of election inspectors (BEIs).

Another anomaly that emerged during the manual recount is the existence of precincts where the number of votes for Robredo exceeded the actual number of filled ballots found in the ballot boxes. In some instances, it was also found that the number of votes for Robredo exceeded the number of people who actually voted. This happened in several clustered precincts in Buhi, Camarines Sur. A similar anomaly was detected in other Camarines Sur towns where excess ballots, which were already marked as such, contained Robredo votes.

Excess or unused ballots that contain Robredo votes already raise suspicion. One could however explain this as spoiled ballots due to voter mishandling. But what is beyond the reach of any credible explanation is when the total votes validly counted for Robredo exceed the number of actual voters, or worse, the total number of ballots found inside the ballot boxes. This is a clear and unassailable footprint of an electoral fraud. It clearly reveals people being allowed to vote even if they were not registered voters, or that phantom votes embodied in ballots but with no actual voters were fed into the machines.

Robredo appealed to the PET to give her a fair chance, or in her words, "patas na laban."

On the contrary, it should be us, the voters, who should be given a fair chance. Our votes have to be correctly counted against those who marked their ballots not to cast their legitimate votes fairly but to manufacture illegal votes to pad the numbers of the undeserving. Our votes should be counted fairly against those who wanted to thwart our will with the use of insufficiently shaded or excess ballots. We deserve to be treated fairly against phantom voters and pre-shaders.

Sources:

  • Insufficient shades, excessive ballots and the Robredo fraud, Antonio Contreras, Aapril 24, 2018, The Manila Times

(This article is adapted from the source listed above. We are unable to grant permission for any kind of reproduction other than social media shares.)


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