Mayoral bet used donuts to cheat, claims loser
BAYAMBANG, Pangasinan—Beware the candidate bearing gifts—especially donuts. They just might be hiding chips that can manipulate election results.
So charged a defeated candidate, who said the winner of this town’s mayoral race tampered with the transmission of election results by introducing “chips” concealed in donuts that were given to election canvassers here.
“If I could do that, Sen. [Ferdinand] Marcos Jr. and other candidates I wanted to win would have won,” said Mayor-elect Cezar Quiambao at a news conference here on Friday.
Quiambao is the president of Stradcom Corp., the information technology provider of the Land Transportation Office.
The charges were part of a nullification petition filed on Tuesday by defeated candidate Zenaida Camacho, wife of outgoing Mayor Ricardo Camacho, who also lost his vice mayoral bid to Quiambao’s running mate, Nato Sabangan.
Like his wife, Mayor Camacho also asked the court in a separate petition to nullify the vice mayor-elect’s victory and to order a manual recount of the votes.
When reached by the Inquirer, however, Camacho could not explain how the chips supposedly hidden in the donuts were used to manipulate the poll results. He said the complaint about the chips was just one of the many instances of electoral cheating they attributed to Quiambao’s camp.
“We have decided to file these protests because of the irregularities committed by our opponents,” Camacho said, citing the alleged harassment of his party’s poll watchers. He also claimed there was vote buying as well as missing election returns from three precincts.
On May 20, Camacho said he had petitioned the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify Quiambao for distributing plastic identification cards bearing the recipient voter’s name, precinct number, photograph and a bar code.
“This is evidence that he violated the election code. How did he get the information about the voters?” Camacho asked.
Quiambao described the petition as “a nuisance case that should have been brought to the Comelec, not the court. But we trust the judicial system and we hope that there will be a just and fair evaluation of the case.”
Based on the Comelec’s transparency server, Quiambao got 31,946 votes while Zenaida Camacho received 19,442 votes. Yolanda Sotelo and Gabriel Cardinoza, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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