Macalintal: Senators’ proclamation 'negates poll irregularities'

MANILA, Philippines – The lead counsel of Camarines Sur 3rd District Representative Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo said that the proclamation of winning senators and party-list groups on Thursday, May 19, “negates” the alleged irregularities in the vice presidential tally that shows her currently ahead. 

In a press statement, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said Saturday, May 21, the election system that recorded and transmitted the votes for senator and party list was the same used for the VP elections.

“The proclamation of 12 winning senators and party-list groups negated all accusations of system errors or irregularities that allegedly affected the votes credited to all candidates in the May 9 elections,” including the votes for Robredo and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr in the VP race, argued Macalintal.

“For sure, these said documents cannot be valid only for purposes of senators, party lists and President and invalid for VP bets,” Macalintal continued. “What is sauce for the gander is likewise sauce for the goose.”

Robredo and Marcos are currently neck and neck in the VP race, with a difference of only 219,127 votes.

With 96.14% of precincts reporting to the Comelec [Commission on Elections] Transparency Server as of May 18, Robredo received 14,023,093 votes so far versus Marcos’ 13,803,966 votes.

’No factual or legal basis’

Senator Marcos has challenged the unofficial VP race tally since he was overtaken by Robredo in the vote count on Tuesday morning, May 10, a day after the 2016 polls. (READ: Unyielding Marcos says Robredo's rise in tally 'strange')

On May 18, the Marcos camp formally requested the Comelec to open its election servers to public audit, following reports of a hash code change in the Transparency Server. Technology provider Smartmatic argued that it was caused by a "cosmetic change" in ballot names and did not affect the vote count. (READ: Comelec on change in hash code: 'No cheating')

Robredo welcomed the system audit, but at the same time hit rivals who cried foul over cheating allegations supposedly without evidence.

For his part, Macalintal said that there were “no recorded objections by any of the watchers or lawyers of any candidate when said Comelec officials prepared and transmitted said electronic documents to all concerned election agencies.”

Therefore, he argued, accusations of cheating or irregularity in canvassing the votes “are baseless and [have] no factual or legal basis.”

Finally, Macalintal said that Robredo’s lead as recorded in the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) that will be canvassed by Congress starting May 25 “clearly shows her election as VP.” – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com