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Atienza says Lim won through ‘hocus-PCOS’

By Jeannette Andrade
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:25:00 05/18/2010

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Protest

MANILA, Philippines?With the elections over, the mudslinging and allegations of cheating have started.

Former Environment Secretary Lito Atienza Monday blamed ?some kind of magic? for his defeat in his bid for the mayor?s seat in the City of Manila.

Saying that people needed to know the truth, Atienza went to the Commission on Elections to file an electoral protest and to demand a recount of the returns from all of the city?s 1,441 voting precincts.

?I am filing this protest to get at the truth ? They have to explain what happened to the people,? he said as he told reporters that he believed former President Joseph Estrada?s allegation that the results of the May 10 elections were probably manipulated in favor of certain candidates through digital ?hocus PCOS.?

Although he stressed that he was not accusing any person in particular of cheating, Atienza said in his protest that Mayor Alfredo Lim was proclaimed the winner in the elections despite the fact that ?the results in the protested precincts [were] not reflective of the actual votes cast therein due to irregularities and errors in the counting and canvassing process.?

In particular, he cited discrepancies in 10 election returns (ERs) from the areas of Sta. Ana, Sampaloc, Tondo and Paco which, according to him, bore the wrong dates and time of day.

According to Atienza, one ER was dated March 27, 2010. The document also indicated that the polls closed at around 7:14 a.m., just minutes after the voting precincts opened at 7 a.m.

A second ER was dated April 28, 2010 and showed that the polls closed at 1:11 p.m. while a third indicated the date as May 9, 2010, a day before the elections were held.

The ERs were all signed by the precincts? respective Board of Election Inspectors (BEI).

Based on the documents, Atienza concluded that ?the election returns transmitted on May 10, 2010 for clustered precincts [were] either spurious or manufactured, the same having been fabricated as early as April 26 to 28 or thereabouts, (and definitely prior to the May 10 elections) and do not reflect the will of the electorate.?

?We want a recount. We have to guard the ballots. Somebody meddled with those particular PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machines. We want the truth,? Atienza said.

His lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said that they would ask for a review of the ballots cast in all of the city?s precincts to determine if there were errors in the tabulation of votes.

Atienza also cited alleged errors in the transmission of results, the scanning and counting of ballots by PCOS machines, the machines? rejection of valid votes, as well as a disparity in the total number of votes for mayor which allegedly exceeded the total number of registered voters. At the same time, he accused Lim of vote buying.

?Without the electoral fraud, anomalies, irregularities, and/or errors stated, the Protestant (Atienza) would have been credited with and would have garnered more votes, and the Protestee (Lim) would have obtained [fewer] votes, than those used as the basis for his proclamation as the winning candidate for the position of mayor of the city. The Protestant would have emerged as the candidate obtaining the highest number of votes for the said position and should have consequently been proclaimed the true, lawful and legitimate winning candidate for the said office,? Atienza said in his protest.

Reached for comment, secretary to the mayor Rafaelito Garayblas said that they had yet to receive a copy of the electoral protest.

But at the same time, he said the ERs cited by Atienza were not enough to cast doubts on Lim?s landslide victory.

Based on the canvassing conducted by the city board of canvassers, Lim won by 214,816 votes over Atienza, garnering 395,910 votes compared to the latter?s 181,094.

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