House minority leaders back move to probe alleged 2016 poll anomalies
Minority leaders of the House of Representatives on Wednesday backed the move of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III seeking a probe into alleged irregularities in the 2016 national elections.
In privilege speech on Tuesday, Sotto, citing an unnamed source, claimed there were irregularities that “altered” the results of the last elections.
Sotto asked the Senate to investigate two allegations: that votes were transmitted a day before the May 9, 2016, balloting and that the election servers were accessed by a foreign party.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez and Senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza supported this, saying they too, believed that the past election was rigged.
“I filed already a resolution early when I assumed the role of minority leader,” Suarez said in a press briefing. “I’ve been questioning the result of the 2016 elections.”
“And on record, I confronted former Comelec [Commission on Elections] chief [Andres] Baustista during the budget hearing ng 2018, and I asked him, and I gave him list of 17,000 precincts where our candidates got zero vote. And you know, he said that was already validated, and came back to me and said most of these are true,” he added, speaking in a mix of Filipino and English.
For his part, Atienza said it is high time that this be probed to “save the nation from further damage,” claiming he was also a victim of election fraud.
“I was also a victim of Smartmatic and I’m waiting for the resolution of minority leader to prosper and I’m willing to participate and present proof,” he said.
Smartmatic was the automated election provider during the 2016 automatied elections.
Pressed if they think President Rodrigo Duterte benefitted from the irregularities, Suarez and Atienza said they believe his votes could have been bigger than what was declared.
“It just means one thing: There were those who shouldn’t win but who won in 2016. And there were losers who shouldn’ have lost,” Suarez said. “But in the case of the president, his lead was so big it would be heard to pad it. I would even make an assumption that maybe his lead over Mar [Roxas] could have been much bigger.”
The two also suggested that it would be better if the country would revert to manual elections to “preserve the integrity” of the polls. /atm
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