Robredo to Marcos: Move on
Two words for defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.: “Move on.”
This was the message of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo’s camp on Thursday, responding to the move by Marcos’ campaign adviser to elevate a dismissed criminal complaint against election officials to the Department of Justice.
Lawyer Beng Sardillo noted in a statement that the Manila city prosecutor dismissed the complaint against the officials of Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp., precisely because of insufficient evidence.
She noted that the camp of Marcos, with campaign adviser and former Abakada Party-List Rep. Jonathan A. dela Cruz acting as complainant, had the burden to prove that there was probable cause to charge the officials for altering computer data and tampering with the election results.
“The dismissal means that they failed to establish their case. Mr. Marcos, however, does not want to move on,” Sardillo said.
“His camp is now looking to the Department of Justice to rule in his favor. While the right to litigate is accorded to any person, fair play demands that we guard against false or baseless charges.”
Sardillo added that “no amount of appeal” can change things if evidence is lacking to warrant the case to be brought to court.
“There are times when we just need to accept the facts and the truth no matter how painful it might be,” she said.
Dela Cruz’s complaint accused the Smartmatic technical support head Marlon Garcia, project manager Elie Moreno, and staffers Neil Banigued and Mauricio Herrera, as well as Comelec technology officers Rouie J. Peñalba, Nelson Herrera, and Frances Mae Gonzalez, of violating Section 4 (a)(1), 4 (a)(3) and 4 (a)(4) of the Republic Act No. 10175.
The said provisions consider the acts of illegal computer access without right, data interference, and system interference as cybercrime offenses.
Dela Cruz told the DOJ that the Manila city prosecutor’s office should not have cleared the respondents of bad faith in disregard of their admission that they altered codes without the Comelec’s permission.
He also disputed the finding that the technology officers were working with an “implied” right or authority.
Marcos’ camp had blamed Robredo’s narrow win on a script amendment that corrected the display of the letter “ñ” in candidates’ names, which rendered as question marks.
This tweak was made on the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting’s transparency server. The National Board of Canvassers uses a separate official server for the purposes of proclaiming the winner./rga
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