Suspend proclamation of senators amid alleged fraud – Caritas

MANILA, Philippines – The social justice arm of the Philippine Catholic Church called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to suspend the proclamation of winning senators as allegations of fraud hound the May 13 elections.

"We are calling to suspend the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates until the allegation of fraud is resolved," Caritas executive secretary Father Edwin Gariguez said.

Gariguez made this call after Caritas received reports on alleged fraud because of glitches that involved more than 900 vote-counting machines, as well as the transparency server that relayed unofficial election results.

Myla Villanueva, chair of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said PPCRV wants to see the logs of the transparency server. This is to avoid a repeat of the 7-hour glitch that blocked media from receiving unofficial tallies.

"I agree with PPCRV," Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said on Twitter.

Guanzon earlier said she and Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia have pushed for a third-party audit of the transparency server to erase doubts about the election process. 

"I can assure you that personally, wala pong daya diyan o magic (there is no cheating or magic)," Guanzon said.

The Comelec, sitting as the National Board of Canvassers, is now in the process of canvassing votes for senators and party-list groups. The poll body has canvassed 85 out of 167 COCs as of 11:15 pm on Wednesday, May 15.

Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the poll body is targeting to proclaim the 12 new senators next week. – Rappler.com

Follow Rappler's full coverage of the 2019 Philippine elections here.

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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