Defeated Cagayan gubernatorial bet claims 'massive cheating' during elections
CAGAYAN, Philippines- A defeated gubernatorial candidate expressed alarm at what she said a "massive cheating and disenfranchisement of voters" during the May 9 elections.
United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) candidate Cristina Antonio, daughter of incumbent Governor Alvaro Antonio, said the large number of undervotes – those who simply did not vote for the gubernatorial position – is "highly improbable."
In a phone interview on Thursday, May 26, Antonio – a lawyer – told Rappler they already filed an election protest before the Election Contest and Adjudication Department (ECAD) at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) central office in Manila.
Liberal Party (LP) bet Manuel Mamba won by more than 16,000 votes to runner-up Antonio, according to the official count of the Provincial Board of Canvassers.
Mamba refused to comment on Antonio's cheating claim, saying he has yet to receive a copy of the complaints filed.
"I haven't received a copy yet. I can't comment," Mamba told Rappler in a text message.
Antonio likened their claims to that of the claims of vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr, saying people wouldn't normally "leave key positions blank."
Marcos had been claiming the election results were rigged in favor of LP vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.
According to the records of the Comelec-Cagayan, about 74,448 of the 538,365 voters left the gubernatorial position blank.
As Marcos, Antonio said the 74,448 undervotes for the gubernatorial position are highly irregular, tagging them as "missing votes."
"It is imperative that we find the missing votes in order to determine the real winner. Consider that the lead of the proclaimed gubernatorial winner Mamba is only 16,320; the figure of 74,448 missing votes is five times more than the latter and could very well change the outcome of the gubernatorial elections," Antonio said.
Antonio won by more than 13,000 votes against Mamba in her hometown Alcala, but pointed out that 1,417 votes were "missing" in her bailiwick.
She said they also found the same "discrepancies" in the results from precincts.
"We discovered that all 1,222 clustered precincts in Cagayan exhibit the same shocking difference between those who actually cast their votes and the much lower number of those who voted for Governor. The missing votes in each clustered precinct range from fifty to the hundreds," she added.
Antonio also added that if the large number of undervotes was a result of improper shading, tearing or crumpling of the ballots, then a failure of elections should be declared.
She said that the number of undervotes represents one-seventh (1/7) of the total voters.
"The purpose of elections is to determine the will of the people through the ballot. If the votes of 74,448 or one-seventh of the electorate are not counted, then there is no true depiction of the people's will," she said.
She said the cases of "missing votes" were not confined to the local races, as results from the same precincts were also reflected up to the national level – the senatorial, vice presidential and presidential positions.
"One is dreadfully made aware of the depth and breadth of fraud and disenfranchisement perpetrated against the electorate. The scheme is embedded at the deepest, most basic unit of the electoral system – the precinct – and tampers with the results for all positions, national down to local,"
She urged those in battling for the national position to view the "missing votes phenomenon" as a "smoking gun -- not a mere conspiracy theory, but competent and relevant evidence of massive cheating."
"Common sense and lived experience demolish the 'undervote' theory. Why would anyone, let alone tens of thousands of rural folk, forego one precious day... troop to the polling place, endure the long queue and wait for hours for the chance to vote, only to leave key positions in the ballot blank," Antonio said. – Rappler.com
Who won in the 2016 Philippine elections?
Check out the 2016 official election results through the link below:
- 2016 official election results for Presidential, Vice Presidential, Senatorial, and Party list elections
Check out the 2016 unofficial election results for the national and local races through the links below
- 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections
- 2016 Philippine Vice Presidential Elections
- 2016 Philippine Senatorial Elections
- 2016 Philippine Congressional Elections
- 2016 Party List Elections
- 2016 Philippine Local Elections
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