Senator Pimentel to keep up fight vs fraud
This time no longer a victim of election fraud, reelected Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, however, would prefer to keep the chairmanship of the Senate committee on electoral reforms when the next Congress convenes in July.
Pimentel, who placed eighth in the senatorial race with almost 14.6 million votes, said that an inquiry into the conduct of the last elections was on top of his agenda.
“The fight against election fraud has become a personal passion,” Pimentel told the Inquirer.
“Even if [the electoral reforms committee] is given to someone else, I can still file a resolution to audit the results of the last election. I will also continue to file bills aimed at improving our electoral system,” he said.
Pimentel admitted he had asked Sen. Franklin Drilon, the presumptive next Senate President, for the chairmanship of the electoral reforms committee.
“Yes, I asked if I could retain it,” said Pimentel, a member of the administration Team PNoy senatorial slate that had Drilon for its campaign manager.
Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Sixto Brillantes, who has been receiving criticism over the elections, welcomed Pimentel’s plan to conduct his own random manual audit of the election results.
The most recent brickbats against Brillantes came after he admitted that there were some discrepancies between the electronic tallies generated by the automated precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines and the Comelec’s random manual audit. He later corrected himself and called them “variances,” not discrepancies, in the counting.
Pimentel said he wanted to conduct an inquiry into the matter before passing judgment on the conduct of the midterm polls.
“I will ask for a copy of the report on the random manual audit. After going over this, I through my committee intend to conduct my own random manual audit of at least one precinct so we could experience first-hand the issues during the random manual audit,” Pimentel had told the Inquirer in an earlier interview.
Pimentel first ran for senator in 2007 but he only served the last two years of his term after he was found to be a victim of electoral fraud. It wasn’t until 2011 that his election protest resulted in the resignation of Juan Miguel Zubiri from the chamber.
In this election, early during the Comelec’s official count, Pimentel questioned the proclamation of the first six senators-elect, saying that it was too early to proclaim any winners because there were relatively too few votes canvassed.
Pimentel later said that he expected the Comelec to come up with an official proclamation document on all senators-elect stating each one’s ranking and number of votes received.
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