Groups protest alleged anomalies in 2022 elections in front of Comelec
MANILA, Philippines — More than a year after, several groups continue to protest the alleged anomalies during the 2022 national and local elections.
The protesters gathered at Plaza Roma in Intramuros, Manila on Thursday, right in front of Palacio del Gobernador where the main office of Commission on Elections (Comelec) is located.
The groups also called for the banning of Smartmatic from bidding as Comelec’s partner election technology firm for the 2025 midterm elections.
Among those who joined the rally was lawyer and 2022 senatorial bet Alex Lacson, who called for the creation of a People’s Truth Commission who would be in charge to reform the country’s election system.
“Imbitahan po natin ‘yung mga gustong sumali na mga senator, miyembro ng Congress, retired justices, at miyembro ng iba’t ibang organizations tulad ng IBP (Integrated Bar of the Philippines), Institute of Internal Auditors, academe, media,” said Lacson.
(Let’s invite those who want to join, senators, members of Congress, retired justices, and members of various organizations such as IBP, Institute of Internal Auditors, academe, media.)
He also called to hear the findings of the group TNTrio, which also attended the protest.
In its findings, the group bared how the election returns from provincial vote counting machines were received by Comelec’s transparency server even before the returns were printed out or transmitted by an internet service provider.
All these transmissions allegedly came from just one private IP address — most of which happened within the first hour after the 7 p.m. closing of precincts.
Former Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Retired General Eliseo Rio Jr. of TNTrio during the protest pointed these findings out, asking how such a “miracle” happened.
Comelec chair George Garcia himself, during a Senate hearing on the poll body’s 2024 budget, confirmed TNTrio’s claim but insisted that it did not affect the integrity of the 2022 election results.
Another TNTrio member and former Comelec commissioner Augustus Lagman, for his part, called for the return of manual counting of votes in precincts to ensure transparency.
“Dapat gawing manual ang pagbibilang sa precinct, tapos electronic ang transmission at automated ang canvassing …para nakikita ng mga tao kung paano binilang ‘yung kanilang mga boto,” said Lagman.
(Precinct counting should be done manually, then electronic transmission and automated canvassing…so people can see how their votes were counted.)
“‘Pag inautomate ang pagbibilang sa precinct nawawala ang transparency, ang nakakaalam lamang ng pagbibilang ay ang Comelec at Smartmatic,” he added.
(When the precinct counting is automated, transparency is lost, the only ones who know the counting are the Comelec and Smartmatic.)
Rio had also filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) in November 2022 that sought to prohibit telecommunication companies from deleting election transmission logs.