50 percent manual audit of election ballots pushed

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines-The left-wing fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Wednesday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to immediately conduct at least 50 percent manual audit of all election ballots that will include the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to determine if there is truth to allegations that the elections was rigged in favor certain candidates in the recently concluded May 10 national and local elections.

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said the allegations regarding automated –led cheating to favor certain candidates were serious enough to merit at least 50 percent manual audit of election ballots of all clustered precints.

“The Comelec is constitutionally, lawfully, politically and morally obliged to perform a round-the-clock manual audit of elections ballots that went through the PCOS machines. The election returns which were printed by PCOS machines should not be used as basis for audit. The manual counting of election ballots remains the most effective means to check if there is really large-scale cheating in the May 10 political exercise,” added Hicap.

Hicap aside from ARMM, the 50 percent manual audit should cover and concentrate should include vote rich areas such as the National Capital Region, the Southern Tagalog and Central Luzon regions, the Northern Luzon provinces, the Bicol region, Western Visayas and Central Visayas region and all Mindanao regions to mention a few.

The Pamalakaya leader said Comelec can accomplish manual audit of at least 50 percent of election ballots in two weeks time and can come out with objective and honest-to-goodness findings by the second week of June, where there is enough time to reverse previous proclamations and declare the real winners in the May 10 polls.

“Chairman Jose Melo and his peers at Comelec have two weeks to perform manual audit of election ballots. This is the only way to check or validate and affirm the outcome of the first automated polls in the country,” said Hicap.

The Pamalakaya official issued the proposal a day after a witness surfaced yesterday in a press conference called by losing presidential bets Nicanor Perlas, JC de los Reyes and Sen. Jamby Madrigal claiming massive automated election cheating were conducted in favor of President apparent Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III of Liberal Party and former Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay, the leading vice-presidential candidate according to latest tallies.

The witness claimed the votes of administration candidate Gilbert Teodoro, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino presidential candidate former President Joseph Estrada and Bangon Pilipinas Eddie Villanueva were shaved to benefit Aquino. The witness also said voted for vice-presidential candidates Loren Legarda and Bayani Fernando were also shaved in favor of former Mayor Binay.

The still identified witness who revealed the election irregularities through a video claimed Teodoro lost 5 million to 6 million votes, while Villanueva lost 2 million to 3 million votes. He said Estrada lost a lot but he did not provide a figure. The witness also said Legarda’s votes were shaved by 4 million to 5 million votes and these were transferred to Binay. With a report from Cupcake Mendoza

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