Marcos camp boosts fraud accusations with new claims

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

The camp of vice-presidential aspirant, Senator Bongbong Marcos has reiterated that there was election fraud, this time claiming that election returns have also been manipulated.

Former Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chair Sixto Brillantes, legal consultant of the Marcos camp, said the unofficial tally in the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) is marred by a manipulation in the election returns.

"That’s what we’re trying to show. Sabi namin, yung unofficial, came directly from the election returns direct to the PPCRV. Now, this (election returns) will go through the process. Ito ang mali eh—the election return results. It was manipulated," he said on ANC's Headstart on Wednesday.

According to Brillantes, election returns are transmitted only once, but to three different servers—one to PPCRV, one to the Comelec Central, and one to the municipal level which will go up to congress sitting as the National Board of Canvassers (NBOC).

The alteration of the hash codes in the PPCRV, he said, means there are issues in the "correctness of what was transmitted." The possible errors, he added, can affect the results.

"One transmission from the machine [and if] that’s manipulated because of PPCRV, then everything is manipulated," he said.

To quell doubts, Brillantes wants the NBOC to summon Smartmatic to prove that the alteration they have applied was purely cosmetic as they claim.

"I think we should ask now in congress that they call Smartmatic and explain whether they only did something cosmetic or they did in fact touch the results. If they did, then everything is put into doubt," he said.

The NBOC, said Brillantes, determines "authenticity and due execution" of the documents they are to canvass. Hence, they may refuse to count the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) which are inauthentic and not duly prepared.

However, he said he has learned that the NBOC will only limit their exercise to provincial, city, and district COCs.

The zero number of votes some candidates received in some precincts, he added, are "matters of fraud" and will not be brought up in the canvassing.

He reiterated that in canvassing, it will only be an issue of transmission due to the automated nature of the elections.

Marcos has claimed that he was being cheated in the polls when Marlon Garcia, an IT personnel from Smartmatic modified the hash code in the poll body's transparency server on May 9.

Smartmatic and Comelec however explained that the change in the transparency server was merely "cosmetic," allowing the program to recognize the "ñ" as a character instead of displaying it as a "?"


Brillantes, the first Comelec Chair to supervise automated elections in 2010, pins the blame not entirely on Comelec or even Smartmatic, but on Garcia.

"No, I don’t think Comelec touched it. I do not know what Marlon Garcia of Smartmatic did when he opened it up because the one who opened it up was not Comelec--it was Marlon Garcia," he said.

Meanwhile, he maintained that the president and the vice-president are traditionally proclaimed together, unlike what Marcos wants.

READ: Marcos wants VP last to be proclaimed

Brillantes, who represented Fernando Poe Jr. in the 2004 presidential election, said that the election returns are presented to congress anyway, so they may look into it.

"I hope they don’t respond similar to 2004, where they refused to look at the election returns. My question only to them is why will you not look at the election returns and give us a chance to explain what happened if all the election returns are there anyway," he said.