Leni camp dares Bongbong: Show proof of cheating
Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News
MANILA - The camp of Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo on Wednesday challenged Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to show proof that there was massive cheating in the vice presidential race.
In a press conference, Robredo's legal counsels Atty. Romulo Macalintal and incoming Senator Leila De Lima showed copies of all Certificates of Canvass (COCs) provided by the poll body. The COCs supposedly show that Robredo defeated Marcos by 200,000 votes.
Macalintal dared the Marcos camp to show even just one document where there is a discrepancy or irregularity in the votes.
"If there is any error in so far as the election returns are concerned, we challenge Mr. Marcos to show us just one election return of the thousands of returns that were canvassed and transmitted to the transparency server," he said.
"Magpakita ka lang ng isang return, just one election return which does not tally with any of the election returns canvassed or transmitted to the PPCRV. That's the way to contest a particular election return. Hindi pwede iyung puro sasabihin na may dayaan o may vote-buying."
The Marcos camp earlier claimed that there were errors in the COCs transmitted to the unofficial and partial count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, where Robredo tallied a hairline lead.
They also called for a full audit of the automated election system, saying the alteration of a script of the transparency server may have compromised the integrity of the PPCRV count.
Macalintal said they will be arguing that it is not for the NBOC to look into Marcos' allegations of electoral fraud and appeal for systems audit.
"Iyung mga sinasabing alleged dayaan, system audit na hinihingi nila, we will be arguing there na hindi ito bahagi. It's not part of the canvassing procedure," he said.
Macalintal earlier reasoned that the board's function is merely ministerial, which is focused on the COCs received from Provincial Board of Canvassers.
All the documents they hold clearly show that Robredo has won the election, the lawyer said.
"Our confidence that Ms. Leni Robredo had really won the election is because of the fact that we have practically all the certificates of canvass and practically all the election returns. In so far as the transmission, in so far as the preparation of these returns, we are confident that these documents will be sustained," he said.
Despite Robredo's lead in the unofficial PPCRV count, the Marcos camp has insisted that they will win in the official canvassing of votes.
George Garcia, head of Marcos’ legal team, earlier said some votes for the senator were disenfranchised during the quick count.
Garcia has vowed to scrutinize every COC for vice president when the NBOC convenes to recover these alleged lost votes.
On Tuesday, the Marcos camp also attempted but failed to seek a separate canvassing of the votes for president and vice president.
ABAKADA party-list Rep. Jonathan dela Cruz, who also served as Marcos’ campaign adviser, claimed there is a separate certificate of canvass (CoC) for president and vice president in the province of Pangasinan.
Dela Cruz also cited Section 10 of the canvassing rules, which said that the joint canvassing committee may tackle issues for the president and vice president positions separately.
House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II, however, said the issue should be raised during the joint committee. He added that the general rule is there is only one COC.
To resolve the impasse, Gonzales insisted on a vote. House Speaker Sonny Belmonte called for a viva voce vote and the House approved the canvassing rules.
READ: Leni-Bongbong race tension mars first canvass day
During Wednesday's press conference, Macalintal said the claim of Dela Cruz on separate COCs for president and vice president in Pangasinan is "premature".
"Palagay ko masyadong premature iyung sinasabi ni Congressman Dela Cruz. We have not even seen the documents. The procedure is the Board of Canvassers will open the envelope purportedly containing the certificates of canvass. Upon opening, the entire documents that will be found in the envelope will be shown to the public and the lawyers for their comments or whatever manifestations they may want," he said.
"That's the only time where all these matters could be raised. But at this juncture kung saan hindi pa man lang nagsisimula ang canvass at ganoon na agad ang sasabihin nila, that only shows that they want to delay the proceedings.
De Lima, co-counsel for Robredo, said there is no legitimate ground to defer the proclamation of the vice-presidential winner.
"We have seen the documents, we have seen the figures... We know there cannot be any legitimate ground to seek for any deferment of canvass, let alone deferment of the proclamation of VP Leni Robredo," De Lima said.
She that while Congress is duty-bound to ascertain the true and accurate results of the election, they are also mandated by law to "guard against unreasonable delay."
This, she said, prohibits anyone from simply objecting to every COC being presented. "Hindi pwedeng basta-basta nilang sasabihin na we are going to object to all, to each and every COC being presented on any ground, on imagined, frivolous, baseless grounds."