'Dagdag-bawas' possible in VP race canvassing – Marcos camp

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr on Tuesday, May 10, raised the possibility of dagdag-bawas (point shaving) in the Commission on Election's (Comelec) unofficial transmission of votes.

In a news conference, Marcos' representatives pointed out a discrepancy in the votes of Senator Francis "Chiz" Escudero reported by GMA News. The network's infographic showed that as of 5:20 am May 10, Escudero's votes went down from 4,479,913 to 4,449,038. 

Transparency advocate Glenn Chong, who joined Marcos' representatives in Tuesday's news briefing, highlighted that Escudero lost 36,442 votes; at the same time, Liberal Party bet Leni Robredo’s numbers rose to 35,000.

The Marcos camp insisted on the allegation, even after GMA News had admitted that it erred in inputting the figures, and had apologized for the mistake earlier in the day. Chong pointed out that it was not only the network who committed the “mistake" but CNN Philippines had also reported it as well.

"It is coincidental that two media outfits erred and they have one transparency survey. Therefore, the mistake would be traced to the transparency server and not the reporting of GMA and CNN," he told reporters.

 Chong alleged this can be a form of point shaving, something reelectionist ABAKADA party list Representative Jonathan Dela Cruz, Marcos' spokesman, said he was also worried of.

"Parang halos dagdag-bawas ito. Kami ay nababahala sapagkat si Senator Escudero, nag-concede na (This is like point shaving. We are alarmed because Senator Escudero has already conceded)," said Marcos' campaign advisor.

Dela Cruz said they are "gravely concerned" Marcos' votes may be used in this form of cheating.

Robredo strongly denied the "unfair" allegation of cheating and urged her rival to just wait for the final count. (READ: Robredo to Marcos: Cheating allegations unfair, wait for final count)

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Marcos' camp remained firm on its call for the Comelec to stop the unofficial transmission of votes because it might create confusion when votes are officially canvassed. 

Dela Cruz also called on the Comelec to provide a breakdown of the source of the votes. Since the source of the votes is unclear, he said, it will be hard to spot if there are cases of double counts.

"From 5 pm up to 10 pm, Senator Marcos' numbers were increasing at a very, very reasonable rate and then towards 11 pm, his numbers were already decreasing at a pace that is quite incredible," he said.

Dela Cruz added that at 11 pm, "There were 26 times that the numbers were shown and every time, his numbers decrease by 1 to 2% so it seems incredible as far as we are concerned."

They also noticed that when the senator was leading by a million, the Comelec reported a glitch in transmission. After this malfunction, the senator's votes plateaued while Robredo's numbers rose.

Eroding confidence

On election day, May 9, Marcos expressed confidence that he would win the elections. But his confidence began to deteriorate later in the day when the unofficial results started showing an "uncomfortable" margin between him and his top rival.

Marcos was leading the race by a hairline until Robredo snatched the top spot at 3:29 am, Tuesday. 

As of 4:40 pm, Robredo is still leading with 13,605,015 of votes, based on the partial unofficial count, versus Marcos' 13,394,086. – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.

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