Bishops urge public outcry vs May 13 polls, demand drastic reforms
BACOLOD CITY — San Carlos Bishop Gerardo Alminaza called on the public to express their outcry against the recently held elections and demand drastic reforms to ensure the conduct of fair polls in the future.
The bishop issued the call following the proclamation of the new senators on Wednesday.
Alminaza, along with Auxiliary Bishop of Manila Broderick Pabillo and Novaliches Bishop Antonio Tobias, recently called for an impartial investigation on the questionable conduct of the elections or the country would not be able to find closure with the questions on integrity and credibility of the election results.
“No amount of name-calling and threats from the part of those silencing protests can repress the call for transparency,” they said in a joint statement.
They also called on the people to document and report cases and experiences of election-related anomalies, stressing the need for the truth to prevail.
Tampering of results
The three bishops cited overwhelming accusations of tampering in the 2019 elections and manipulation of results.
The bishops said to this day Comelec has yet to respond satisfactorily to the different irregularities.
For one, they said, 961 of 85,000 Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) reportedly experienced “issues” in the early afternoon of May 21, 2019; 600 VCMs were suspiciously and abruptly replaced, and 1,333 malfunctioning machines and 1,665 Secure Digital (SD) cards suffered “glitches,” as reported by the teachers.
They also cited the existence of pre-shaded ballots, and erroneous ballot receipts in different parts of the country as well as the seven-hour sudden blackout in the transmission of election results.
The bishops said these irregularities cast doubt on the reliability of the election results.
“Such a phenomenon is unprecedented after years of conducting automated elections. And it is even more unnerving that this happened after the National Citizens’ Movement for Free Elections was denied full access to the data needed to ensure the credibility of the elections,” they said.
They also cited the Comelec’s alleged refusal to disclose the location of the central server, its backup, and the identities of those managing their operations, and the refusal to disclose and explain the “transmission route” or the “meet-me-room” network set up, how it operates, why it was necessary, and who are involved in its operation.
“We call on the people to document and report cases and experiences of election-related anomalies,” the bishops said. (Editor: Leti Boniol)