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Comelec sets probe on 2016 fraud raps


By Angie M. Rosales and Ted Tuvera

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will probe allegations of automated poll fraud in the May 2016 national elections that Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III raised in a privilege speech last Tuesday.

Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said in a television interview that the Comelec is now in touch with the office of the senator to obtain documents and gather information used as his basis for his allegations.
“Comelec would want to see the documents he holds and related information based on the snapshots (in the slide presentations) that he showed,” Jimenez said.
Sotto, meanwhile, said the whistleblower who provided him information in the poll fraud expose is willing to reveal all he knows during a Senate inquiry but it should be in an executive session.
“If the Senate needs it, primarily if he has a copy of the contents of the transmissions, he is willing to appear in the hearing. If it’s in an executive session, he would have no problem but not in a public hearing,” he said.
Sotto, in a privilege speech delivered Tuesday, claimed that an “informant” disclosed to him that alleged poll results were being transmitted to various levels of board of canvassers even before actual poll exercise could formally open last May 9, 2016.
Based on the information given to him, the “transmission logs” would show that six national candidates benefited from in the apparent fraudulent early transmissions.
The senator refused to provide further details on his identity saying that he has to protect his source so as not to compromise the individual’s safety. Sotto said he has been trying to contact Sen. Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee on electoral reforms, to schedule the hearing the soonest time possible.

The Senate leader, however, would not drop hints as to the names of the candidates who benefitted supposedly from the early transmission but said that his colleagues already know who they are.
Different poll fraud issue
Sotto emphasized that his revelations has nothing to do with the pending electoral protests of any of the candidates who participated in the last national poll exercise.
“My point here is that the government again entered into a contract with Smartmatic which still has unresolved problems and what I raised recently would be different. It does not involve any of the protests on the poll results, or the candidates, whether the protests are on local or national level,” he said.
“I don’t want to relate it to that (pending poll protest cases). If these will affect their protests, well it’s not my fault. I’m merely bringing out an irregularity that seems to be very huge,” he said.
“All that I revealed came from my source. I don’t have the evidence. Now the evidence will come if and when we’re able to subpoena these Domain Name Service (DNS) and the logs,” said Sotto.
But the senator admitted that all the needed documents, if furnished to them by the whistleblower, will easily unmask the so-called “beneficiaries.”
What Sotto admitted was that the votes for those in the presidential, vice presidential and senatorial candidates were mentioned by his source as the ones “affected” by the early transmissions.
Solid proof needed
Jimenez said a zero-vote scenario was neither impossible nor uncommon. “So again, if we’re going to make a conclusion, it would be better to have a solid basis and, so far, that’s what we want to have. This might be it. Whatever Senator Sotto holds might be the solid basis for that,” he added.
Malacañang, for its part, said it will keep track of the progress of the Comelec probe.
President Duterte could order a probe on the alleged rigging of the 2016 elections, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
While the Palace leaves the investigation in the hands of the Comelec and the Senate, Roque said the President might tap investigative bodies to review the conduct of the 2016 polls.
“We hope that the Comelec probes this. The Senate could also do the same. We leave it to them,” Roque said, replying to the query if Sotto’s revelation will boost Marcos’ poll protest.
“Let us wait if the President will order the government’s investigative branches to do the same,” he added.
“We will have to closely monitor this because the President will implement our laws because our election laws are important. What could have been stolen here is the people’s mandate.”
Roque: VP, Tolentino have stakes
Confident that Mr. Duterte’s victory will not be contested, Roque said that the Palace will see to it that those who will be proven guilty must be held accountable.
Roque said that at least two politicians have stakes if the probes are pushed: Vice President Robredo and Presidential Political adviser Francis Tolentino.
“We will move forward to hold those who did election offenses accountable. But the [President’s] mandate will not be erased because we’re not facing any election contest,” he said.
Based on the official election results, Marcos lost by 263,467 votes (14,155,344 total votes) to the Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Robredo who got 14,418,817 total votes.
Marcos, in his poll protest, said there was a “massive cheating” that he labeled as LP’s ‘Plan B’ seeking a recount in 27 provinces and cities covering 36,000 precincts. He particularly wants to nullify the poll results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur.
Marcos is a close ally of Mr. Duterte.
Tolentino, on the other hand, contests currently detained Sen. Leila de Lima’s win as the 12th placer in the Senate race.
De Lima is an LP stalwart but has been charged with drug trafficking offenses.
The camp of former Senator Marcos welcomed the expose’ made by Sotto as Vic Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, said in a statement “Marcos is happy that he is no longer a voice in the wilderness.”
He noted that other patriotic leaders and stakeholders have seen the extent of the conspiracy, interference and manipulation of the election results by Smartmatic and have begun to speak out.
“We congratulate Senator Tito Sotto for bringing the election anomalies to the attention of the public,” Rodriguez said.
“Informed observers have wondered why — despite all the evidence of massive cheating committed by Smartmatic, the Comelec still awarded them the contract to do the same thing all over again in the forthcoming 2019 elections,” the statement read.
“We have never understood Comelec’s insistence in again awarding Smartmatic despite the multitude transgressions attributed to it,” it added.


  • Lorie

    Guess who are the 6 national candidates who benefited from the COMELEC Smartmatic computerized cheating. My guesses: Mar Roxas - presidential candidate, Leni Robredo - vice presidential candidate and proclaimed winner, Frank Drilon, Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima, Kiko Pangilinan - all of whom made it to the senate.

    Lorie Thursday, 08 March 2018 09:40 Comment Link
  • Lorie

    The COMELEC investigating this reminds of Atty Persida's interview with Karen Davila. Davila pressed Atty Persida as to how the PAO was not cooperating with the investigation being conducted by the DOH. Hello! The PAO was directed by the Justice Secretary to do the investigation. It is the DOH that is under investigation for the massive, deadly Dengvaxia scam. Binaligtad pa ang istorya ng korap na Karen Davila! Rody should tell Sec. Aguirre to initiate an honest to goodness investigation. The last big investigation done by the Justice department resulted in DeLima being arrested after heaps of evidence and testimonies were presented.

    Lorie Thursday, 08 March 2018 09:11 Comment Link
  • bubbles12

    COMELEC tasked to investigate itself? Very funny!

    bubbles12 Thursday, 08 March 2018 07:45 Comment Link
  • hjtree

    Weeks back, it was DOH pointing at SANOFI as the sole criminal, now it is Comelec investigating Smartmatic - kuno.
    Pero sa totoo, partners in crimes sila. Ano ang mangyayari diyan, di lusot and DOH at Comelec.

    Pero sa totoo DOH at Comelec ang pasimuno, ang sanofi at smartmatic lang ang nagbenta nang gamit. Kung hindi ang sanofi o smartmatic, hahanap lang ang DOH at Comelec ng iba magagamit nila.

    Bakit sila ( Comelec at DOH) pa ngayon ang kunwari naluko?

    Taong bayan and niloloko ngayon - at ang medya, trapo ang ginagamit sa panloloko. Sila ang mga nangungunang suhulan ng negosyante/ lahat ng manloloko.

    Kung walang comelec at trapo pusible kayang hindi nalagay sa panganib ang hindi iilang mga bata?

    Baka buhay pa siguro yong ....

    hjtree Thursday, 08 March 2018 01:49 Comment Link
  • inocent

    The Comelec have been long suspected as tying up with Smartmatic to manipulate the result of all elections to make money. This is one example of corruption, and very effective way of corruption which Comelec and Smartmatic always defend as impossible because it is computerized. James Jimenez have been in the Comelec for ages and he is surely part of the recipients of dirty money which Comelec and Smartmatic both earn from candidates who badly wants to win. One big question the Comelec should answer is why they continue to award the computerization contract to Smartmatic when there were so many cases about irregularities, massive irregularities. The only answer one can think of is all about money. The Comelec as an entity have no conscience anymore because they do not care who ever is elected and whatever happens to the country as long as their pockets are full.

    inocent Thursday, 08 March 2018 01:28 Comment Link
  • Gising bayan

    It should be investigate body to do the investigation and not the Comelec. There is a great chance that the Comelec has something to do with That electoral sabotage. The Comelec will do their best to cover their trace on involvement in this crime.

    Gising bayan Thursday, 08 March 2018 01:11 Comment Link
  • cita m quidilla

    why should the comelec do the investigating? Impeach na lang natin ang lahat ng mga commissioners para mas malinis ang electoral process natin. ang kakapal ng mukha nila. as if these problems which is now coming out never exist. dinededma lang nila.

    cita m quidilla Wednesday, 07 March 2018 23:14 Comment Link
  • ed1151

    those who did the massive cheating wants to use smartmatic again to get back to power... this can be possible only if outside elements are cohorts in this edmassive cheating.

    ed1151 Wednesday, 07 March 2018 23:05 Comment Link
  • jesus nazario

    Thank God ! Now the President himself is reacting as we have long hoped for. Surely this time a no-nonsense probe will be done and conclusively lead to the identification of who are all along the perpetrators of this serial travesty since the 2008 ARMM automated pilot and the elections in 2010, 2013 and 2016. But why on earth is Comelec being allowed to do the investigation when it is a major suspect to the crime ?

    jesus nazario Wednesday, 07 March 2018 22:48 Comment Link

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