Duterte admin imposed fear, violated rules in 2019 polls — Pangilinan
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan on Thursday questioned the credibility and fairness of the recently concluded elections, saying that the administration used threats, imposed fear, and violated several election rules to secure poll victory.
“Pinakilos ang buong makinarya ng makapangyarihan para siguruhing wala ni isa sa ating mga kandidato ang magkakamit ng poder sa Senado. Nagkaroon ng pagbabanta, pananakot, massive vote-buying, electioneering at iba pang mga paglabag sa Omnibus Election Code,” Pangilinan, who headed the campaign of opposition senatorial slate Otso Diretso, said in a Facebook post.
(The entire machinery of those in power has been mobilized to make sure that none of our candidates will gain power in the Senate. There were threats, intimidation, massive vote-buying, electioneering and other violations of the Omnibus Election Code.)
Pangilinan said that while they expected that the “odds were stacked against us,” they did not expect the machinery the administration to be used during the elections.
“Pinasok natin ang laban at kampanya nang mulat (We entered the fight and campaign consciously). Being in the opposition and facing the full brunt of the vaunted, well-oiled administration machinery, we knew we had to run the campaign on a shoestring budget; we knew that those in position would pull no stops to tighten their hold on power,” Pangilinan said in a Facebook post.
“Pero hindi rin natin inasahan ang antas ng panggigipit na ipinamalas sa atin, pati na ang bilyong pisong halaga na inilabas ng administrasyon,” the senator added.
(But we did not expect the degree of harassment that we have experienced, including the billions of pesos the administration spent for the election.)
Pangilinan also listed several instances when the administration violated election rules or used fear during the campaign season, such as:
- Violation of election rules on billboards, posters, and use of government resources for the campaign, with no one being held accountable
- Malacañang’s release of the “baseless narcolist” that served as a threat for local politicians in the country
- President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat that he will delay the projects of politicians who would refuse to support the administration
- The Commission on Election’s (Comelec) denial of the opposition’s request for a debate during the campaign season
- Comelec’s decision to name Nacionalista Party, and not Liberal Party, as the dominant minority party.
- Reports of unmailed ballots to many overseas Filipino workers
- Comelec’s refusal to access their mirror servers, despite the opposition being a major national political party
- Malfunctioning of hundreds of vote-counting machines (VCMs) during the elections amid reports vote-buying
Due to these instances, Pangilinan said the credibility and fairness of the elections were “placed in serious doubt.”
Despite this, Pangilinan said his move to call out the administration is not “sour grape” on his part but rather call for a fair fight.
“This is what we are up against. Maraming kailangang gawin. Kailangan nating tibayan ang mga dibdib dahil tiyak na lalong pipitpitin ang demokrasya (There’s a lot of work to be done. We need to brace for threats against democracy),” he added.
No one from the Senate opposition slate was elected.
Re-electionist senator Bam Aquino ranked highest in 14th place with over 14.1 million votes. (Editor: Eden Estopace)
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