Imee opening doors to poll fraud if she made ‘dangerous’ budget bill provision — OVP spox
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos appears to be opening a door for corruption and electoral fraud if she really inserted a dangerous provision on the budget for the 2022 national elections, Office of the Vice President (OVP) spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said on Sunday.
According to Gutierrez, Marcos should directly explain if it was really her who made that insertion — according to sources cited by a Philippine Daily Inquirer story — as it would be unfair if she was wrongly accused.
Vice President Leni Robredo’s spokesperson further noted that the allegations that Marcos placed a provision waiving electoral procurement safeguards in the 2021 budget are serious and must not be taken lightly, even if the controversial insertions have been removed already.
“Kung ikaw talaga ang magtutulak ng ganito, eh parang ikaw na ang nagtulak ng dayaan. Parang ikaw na ang nagbukas ng pinto para sa korapsyon, at sa dayaan sa darating na eleksyon. Wala naman sigurong tao na gustong siya iyong maano doon, masisi para sa ganoon,” Gutierrez said in OVP’s regular radio program at DZXL.
(If you really pushed for that provision, then it seems you are also pushing for electoral fraud. It seems you are opening the doors for corruption, and cheating for the upcoming elections. I think no one wants to be blamed for those accusations.)
“Kaya kung hindi talaga totoo, ako, payo ko sa kanya, sagutin niya nang diretso,” she added.
(That’s why if such claims are not true, my advice for her is to answer it directly.)
Inquirer ran a story on Sunday which cited several sources — including Senate and House sources who were part of the bicameral conference that tackled the 2021 national budget — pointing towards Marcos as the proponent of the so-called “dangerous provision.”
According to the story, the proposed General Appropriations Act contained provisions that would disregard all the requirements and safeguards placed under Republic Act No. 8436, which allows the Commission on Elections to do automated polls.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III supposedly told Senator Sonny Angara to remove that particular provision on the final bill that was transmitted for President Rodrigo Duterte’s signature.
The talks on the provision appeared to be triggered by election lawyer Emil Marañon III, who said that a senator was attempting to insert a provision on the budget giving Comelec “a carte blanche authority to waive/disregard all the requirements and safeguards in Section 12 of the automated election law.”
Marañon did not mention which senator he was referring to.
But Gutierrez noted that Marcos did not properly address the questions hurled at her, mentioning that the senator, who is the sister of former senator Bongbong Marcos who filed a poll protest against Robredo, only referred to a previous interview where she condemned the procurement waiver.
“At kung sinasabi ng Inquirer na si Senator Imee yan, siguro dapat sagutin niya nang diretso. Sa aking pagkakaintindi, kapag binasa mo iyong balita, hindi niya sinasagot, dapat sagutin niya. Para kung hindi man siya involved dito, ma-clear niya iyong kaniyang pangalan dahil hindi ito maliit na bagay,” Gutierrez said.
(And if Inquirer says that it was Senator Imee who did it, maybe she should answer it directly. Based on my understanding, if you read the news, she did not answer it. She should, so that if she is not involved in this controversy, she can clear her name because this is not a small issue.)
Robredo’s spokesperson said that it is also ironic for Senator Marcos to propose such dangerous insertions, given that she chairs the Senate committee on electoral reforms.
“Una iyon, iyong posibilidad ng korapsyon ang laki kung tatanggalin mo iyong safeguard. Pangalawa, eh integridad ng eleksyon […] kaya tayo naglagay ng iba’t ibang safeguards doon sa ating automation law, para nga matiyak natin na hindi magkakaroon ng dayaan — electronic dayaan o ibang klaseng dayaan,” Gutierrez stressed.
(First is the possibility of a massive-scale corruption if you remove the safeguards. Second, the integrity of the elections is in peril, because the reason why we put up various safeguards in our automation law is to ensure that there would be no electoral fraud, either by means of electronics or other methods.)
“Napaka-ironic nga nito kung totoo na si Senator Imee ang nanguna nito […] dahil una nga, siya iyong chair ng electoral reforms sa Senado. Alam naman natin sa ating kasaysayan, na isa sa mga pinakamalaking halimbawa ng dayaan ay nangyari noong kanilang yumaong ama, ang dating pangulo, ‘di ba, si Pres. Marcos,” he added.
(If it is true, then it is ironic that Senator Imee started all of these, because first of all, she is the chair of the Senate’s electoral reforms committee. We know in our history, one of the biggest examples of electoral fraud happened during the time of her father, former president Ferdinand Marcos.)
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