The outcome of the recent May 13, 2019 National & Local Elections may have already been decided in favor of the Duterte administration as not one Senatorial candidate from the Opposition has won a seat, it is hard to say that it is a victory through ‘clean, honest & free elections’.
On election day itself, NAMFREL has noted the following of great concern:
Violence in Mindanao – the were incidents of violence in the towns of Datu Piang and Matanog resulting to people unable to vote and the pullout of observers.
Voter disenfranchisement – voters gave up after they were not able to find their names on the list of voters even in precincts they had previously voted.
400 to 600 Vote Counting Machines (VCM) that malfunctioned which caused delays in voting or improvised voting procedures which let to voters being unable to verify their votes. It is estimated that between 600,000 to 800,000 votes may have been compromised and this is enough to influence the results of the election.
Then for 7 hours from 6:15PM of May 13 to 1:19AM of May 14, the Comelec Transparency server did not display results due to a yet-to-be explained technical glitch. When it did, candidates of the Administration had swept the Senate race.
Although the results favoring the administration bets where somehow expected given the President’s all-time high popularity rating, what came as a surprise was a sweep of all 12 seats in the Senate. Looking at the party-list elections, the anomalies, violence and lack of transparency has raised doubts about the results.
Noticeable are the following:
Anakpawis received zero votes in precincts where the group had members registered votes, including Caloocan and Valenzuela cities.
In Cagayan province, where Anakpawis has 20,000 members, the party polled only 8,000 votes.
Kabataan partylist received fewer votes in areas where the size of its chapters should have generated higher counts, such as Samar and Benguet provinces and Malabaon City.
ACT Teachers said an area in Iloilo province where the party had consistently drawn more than 700 votes gave it just seven.
Gabriela said they received significantly fewer votes this year in areas that consistently gave it much higher votes in the past elections.
Bayan Muna also experienced the same shaving of votes in areas that have given it increasing number of votes. Although it is no. 2, the gap with the number 1(the partylist of Tulfo) is way to great a figure.Arkibong Bayan, Facebook post, May 17, 2019
All of these cast doubt on the integrity of the elections. The COMELEC whose duty and reason for existence is the conduct of ‘clean, honest and free elections’ should take the lead in being transparent and allowing access to the election data and servers for auditing. While it’s easy to say that the Left is once more just making noise for being sore losers, it conveniently ignores the many incidents that took place throughout the country last May 13 that has now cast doubts about the results.
Others will mask their bias with wit by asking the Left to present evidence to back their claims of cheating and fraud. While it is correct that the burden of proof is on the one making the allegations, such proof will depend on how transparent the COMELEC will be since the primary source of evidence, the Automated election system, is under their control.
If the COMELEC will grant the petitions for transparency and seriously look into the allegations, it will vindicate both the poll body and most specially the administration candidates as it will remove any doubts to the new mandates they have received from the electorate. The Left is not crying foul because it wants to have more seats in government, it is only after ensuring that our elections are clean, honest and free. Consistent to their cause, the Left is fighting not to win more seats, but for the true will of the people to be heard and respected.
It is a win for all if the election results are proven to be accurate and credible. It’s a win for all if those who made election law violations will be punished. It’s a win for all if we are able to ensure the recent elections have been clean, free & honest.