Robredo fears poll cheating despite vote lead


Vice-presidential candidate Maria Leonor "Leni" Robredo admitted Wednesday she remains worried that cheating could still be conducted in the final canvassing of votes despite her 200,000-vote lead over Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

In an interview, Robredo backed the call of Senator Marcos for a systems audit of the automated election system (AES) to dispel all doubts about the results of the national election.

"Sang ayon ako na may system audit para maalis yung lahat ng duda tungkol sa integridad ng proseso ng eleksyon. Yung akin lang yung mga ganung hakbang okay sakin yun. Yung hindi okay sa akin yung nagpaparatang na nandaya na wala namang basehan. Yung mag-o-audit, titingnan... Palagay ko hindi lang siya yung magbe-benefit pati din ako," she told reporters.

As of 10:45 a.m. May 18, Robredo is leading the vice-presidential race with 14,023,093 votes, compared to Marcos's 13,803,966 votes. The partial and unofficial results represent 96.14% of election returns received by the Commission on Elections transparency server.

Congress is set to convene as a National Board of Canvassers (NBOC) on May 23 to tabulate certificates of canvass to determine the winner of the presidential and vice presidential contests.

Robredo said the unofficial count was only waiting for less than 100,000 votes, which would come from detainee votes and 3 towns without COCs. She said the vote count from her poll watchers are jiving with the poll counts of both Comelec and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting.

"Safe na yung numbers," she said.

On the other hand, she said statements from the Marcos camp that there was cheating in the elections could be a form of mind conditioning.

"Sa akin lang ano... sana wala silang binabalak na pandaraya na gagawin sa canvassing. Kasi yung winoworry ko ngayon klaro naman yung numero pero parang mina-mind condition nila. Hindi ko alam yung precursor ito to something. Pero sana hindi," she said.

She also pointed out that the same poll cheating happened in the 1986 snap elections. The electoral fraud was discovered after 35 computer experts from the National Computer Center walked out during the counting of votes and revealed the Marcos camp had manipulated the election results.

"Sana lang walang balak na pandaraya," Robredo said. "Kasi alam naman natin na may history na ganun. Hindi natin makakalimutan yung nangyari nung 1986 na siguro kung hindi nag walk out yung mga tabulators baka nadaya nga tayo. Yung sa akin nagwoworry ako yung numero nila iba sa numero namin, iba sa numero ng Comelec. Nagtatanong lang ako bakit ganun... na ito SD cards ito di ba. Iisa lang naman dapat yung pinanggalingan. Bakit iba yung numero nila."

"Sana hindi ito precursor sa isang plano na hindi maganda."

Robredo said the large number of votes for Senator Marcos shows that many people do not know the suffering of many Filipinos during martial law.

"Yung pagkatalo niya gustong sabihin mas marami pa din yung nakakaalala nung nangyari in the past. Pero yung laki din ng numero na nakuha nakakatakot pa din. Nakakatakot pa din na despite the many years na parang sinuffer ng marami sa atin marami pa din yung parang hindi nakakaalam," she said.

"Lesson din ito sa atin lahat na sana hindi lang patungkol sa kanila pero patungkol sa lahat ng mga parang gumawa na hindi gumawa para sa ating bansa... sana hindi nakakalimutan kasi kapag nakakalimutan talagang bound to repeat tayo ng mistakes ng past."

Life under Marcos: A fact-check

The Marcos family has long been dogged by accusations the dictator oversaw massive human rights abuses and plundered billions of dollars from state coffers until a famous "people power" revolt toppled him from power in 1986.

Human rights groups say tens of thousands endured torture and imprisonment during the elder Marcos's 20-year rule.

After the Marcos patriarch died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, the family returned to the country in 1991 and began a successful political comeback, culminating in Bongbong Marcos getting elected to the Senate in 2010.

The younger Marcos has been criticized for refusing to apologize for the injustices committed during his father's dictatorship. The 58-year-old, an incumbent senator, denies his family stole from government coffers and insists his father's rule was one of peace and progress. With Agence France-Presse

Bongbong on Marcos era: What am I to say sorry for?