Jun 01 2016 12:00am

Leni on vote rigging: Numbers don't add up

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of vice president-elect Leni Robredo dismissed the alleged election rigging in Quezon that supposedly benefited her as a tall tale, since it is not reflected in the official results canvassed by Congress.

In a television interview, Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said the statements of the three alleged poll operators are hard to believe "because the figures don't add up."

"They are claiming that they added 500,000 votes to VP Leni, but the official congressional canvass showed that she received only 385,164 votes in Quezon," she said.

Hernandez said it was obvious that had the unnamed vote riggers really padded the votes for Robredo, she should have obtained more than 800,000 votes.

She said the three supposed election operators and Pastor Saycon, Council of Philippine Affairs (COPA) president who has taken them into his custody, should file a formal complaint if they have evidence to support their vote-rigging allegations.

According to one of the three, who called himself Ka Bert and who claimed he is a member of the religious group Iglesia ni Cristo, the 500,000 votes supposedly added to Robredo were shaved from her closest opponent, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Robredo won in Quezon, followed by Sen. Francis Escudero with 191,444 votes. Marcos was in third place with 173,394 votes.

Ka Bert also claimed that they reduced 300,000 votes from president-elect Rodrigo Duterte and 200,000 each from Sen. Grace Poe and Vice President Binay, for a total of 700,000 votes.

He alleged that they added the 700,000 to the votes of administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II.

However, the official canvass showed Roxas received only 205,791 votes in Quezon.

It was Poe who won in the province with 305,814 votes, followed by Roxas. Duterte was in third place with 184,950 votes, while Binay was in fourth with 175,002.

A total of 893,878 votes were cast for president and 862,402 for vice president in Quezon.

If Roxas and Robredo indeed received an additional 700,000 and 500,000 votes, their vote totals should have exceeded the number of votes cast for president and vice president.

They would have received 905,791 and 885,614, respectively.

Based on Ka Bert's version of the supposed manipulation, the cheats used vote-counting machines from Smartmatic to hijack votes from the town level, changed them before sending them to the national transparency server of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for tabulation.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista questioned the timing of the allegations.

"Why only now? If they really have proof of cheating, why come forward only now. Three weeks have passed since the elections. If there was fraud, they should have come out sooner," he said.

Bautista said Comelec welcomes anyone who had claims about poll fraud but they should substantiate their allegations.

Bautista said that in previous elections, there were also allegations of tampering and other forms of cheating but no case has prospered in any court.

"For this election, there are many checks and balances. There's the random manual audit, the voter receipts and the public site for election returns. That's why I really could not believe (there is cheating)," he said.

Comelec Commissioner Luie Guia said under the automation system used by the poll body, municipal results could not be hijacked and changed as these are automatically forwarded to the provincial tally and then to the Comelec transparency server. - With Edu Punay, Sheila Crisostomo, Christina Mendez, Michelle Zoleta

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