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Opposition lawmakers demand probe of alleged electoral fraud

/ 04:15 PM May 21, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers at the House of Representatives have called for a thorough investigation of the alleged fraud and failures in the May 13 polls.

The Makabayan bloc said reports of “massive errors and malfunctions of the automated elections system,” “widespread vote-buying,” and the use of “government resources to favor administration bets” have rendered the results of the elections “highly questionable and not reflective of the people’s mandate.”

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Among the electoral failures cited include the seven-hour glitch after the polls, the breakdown of hundreds of vote counting machines (VCMs), and thousands of defective SD cards.

The Makabayan bloc is composed of Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, ACT Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.

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They also accused the Duterte administration of “red-tagging and harassing” the opposition.

“Government agencies including the PNP, AFP, DILG and even the NYC have been utilized as machinery in electioneering and maliciously campaigning against us,” they said. “The people will not concede. Let us not concede to an election that is obviously manipulated to put this administration’s bets in position and its dictatorial goals furthered.”

Makabayan said they would file the necessary charges against government officials who led the vilification campaign against them, including Philippine National Police chief Director General Oscar Albayalde and Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Brigadier General Antonio Parlade.

The group also demanded the scrapping of the privatization of and foreign control of the automated election system.

Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, a member of the Magnificent 7 opposition bloc in the lower chamber, meanwhile, lamented how their party would not land a seat for the party-list system in the incoming 18th Congress.

“Elections are now being used by the Duterte administration to consolidate absolute power. It promotes disdain and intolerance of legitimate political opposition, pushes for supermajorities in both Houses, and a rejection of the principle of checks and balances. We are now in a state of illiberal democracy,” said Villarin.

Manual counting

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Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, who lost in the senatorial race and a member of Magnificent 7, said the country should revert to manual counting at the precinct level “to do away with malfunctioning VCMs and SD cards and possible manipulation of codes in the SD cards.”

“This provides a way for poll watchers at the precinct level to verify the counting of votes. Transmission to municipal and national levels will still be done electronically to ensure fast processing,” Alejano added. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

READ: Back up electoral fraud claims with evidence, Comelec exec tells groups

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: 2019 election, electoral fraud, House of Representatives, Makabayan bloc, opposition lawmakers
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