Comelec denies UNA plea vs proclamation
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC), unanimously denied the motion of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) to suspend the proclamation of winning senators.
“The NBOC notes that this petition was filed clearly to delay the proceedings. [UNA] based its allegations merely on hearsays like newspaper accounts, unfounded suspicions, and the lack of knowledge of the system it attempts to discredit,” the board said in its resolution.
“To properly challenge the results being canvassed in the instant proceeding and to merit our favorable attention, [UNA] must show by presentation of its own copy of the Election returns and COCs that there is a discrepancy in the votes being canvassed by the NBOC,” it said.
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. Thursday afternoon held a hearing to deliberate on the motion of UNA filed by its deputy secretary general Sherwin Gatchalian before the Comelec office in Intramuros.
UNA claims that there was alleged data manipulation by Smartmatic personnel in the unofficial parallel count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV).
The NBOC’s resolution 0001-13 said that “the alleged ‘unauthorized access and manipulation of the TAR filed in the transparency server room’ is part of the authorized maintenance procedure of the servers conducted by authorized Smartmatic personnel.”
It also states in the NBOC resolution that “there is nothing abnormal, anomalous or irregular with the said procedure,” citing a certain Gadburt Mercado, a witness to the alleged data manipulation.
It also said that the results from the Transparency server which is being used by the PPCRV, “has no direct relation or effect to the proceedings before the NBOC.”
Cesar Flores, Smartmatic Asia Pacific president, denied the data manipulation claim of UNA as “absolutely, utterly false” and said that it will be very easy for UNA or any party to prove there was data manipulation.
They just have to bring in their copy of their election return and compare it with the PPCRV or Comelec results to show there was a discrepancy, Flores told reporters in a separate earlier interview.
In its plea, UNA also cited the slow pace of transmissions being received by the Comelec but the NBOC found no merit in the claims of UNA.
“The current rate of transmission to the NBOC is normal and regular, and even considerably faster than the 2010 elections which took the 2010 NBOC two days to start the canvassing and five days to proclaim the first set of senators,” it said.
Lawyers for the Liberal Party (LP), reelectionist Senator Francis Escudero, senatorial candidates Grace Poe, Aquilino Pimentel III, and Alan Peter Cayetano had all filed an opposition to the motion of UNA. With a report from Jamie Elona