No basis to doubt poll results amid Bautista couple’s spat—lawyer
An election law expert on Thursday said there was no legal nor factual basis to immediately jump into conclusion that the marital spat between Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Andres Bautista and his wife Patricia could cast any doubt in the credibility and integrity of the 2016 national and local elections.
Atty. Romulo Macalintal said even if Patricia has presented before the media the alleged evidence of ill-gotten wealth of Bautista, she did not mention any act committed to compromise the election results.
“Patricia never mentioned any alleged “commission” or “referral fees” received by Bautista for purposes of cheating or rigging the said elections in favor of any candidate,” Macalintal, lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo in the electoral protest against her, said.
“There is a big difference between commissions received to favor a bidder and commissions received to cheat the elections,” he added.
Macalintal pointed out that when casting doubt on the credibility of the automated election system (AES) used in the 2016 elections, the same system used in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
He said protests have been filed in the previous polls were dismissed for failure to prove any discrepancy between the results of the election generated by the PCOS machines and the physical count of said ballots.
He said, Bautista alone, or even the entire Comelec cannot rig the AES to favor a particular candidate or political party.
“It may need the conspiracy of other stakeholders like the Central Bank being the official depository of the AES Source Code; the Comelec Regional Directors and Provincial Election Supervisors, Smartmatic and other people involved in the operation of the AES. And this certainly is impossible to happen; and did not happen in the 2010, 2013 and 2016 polls wherein not an iota of evidence had been presented to destroy their integrity and credibility,” he added.
Macalintal said he prays that Bautista’s family could get through “a very trying moment.”
“I still look forward to seeing the reconciliation of Chairman Bautista and his wife and their entire family… As a Christian, I could only offer my prayers for Bautista and his family. What they need is not legal nor political intervention; but Divine and God’s intervention and the intercession of Mama Mary,” he added. IDL
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