Comelec denies 'dagdag-bawas' in VP race

ABS-CBN News

The Commission on Elections denied Wednesday that votes are being rigged in favor of Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Leni Robredo.

This is after the camp of Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. asked Comelec and the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) to halt the unofficial quick count amid claims of "dagdag-bawas" or vote padding-shaving.

Kampo ni Marcos, iginiit na sila ang lamang sa bilangan

Lawyer Jonathan Dela Cruz, legal counsel of Marcos, said the senator initially led the vice-presidential derby with a million-vote lead over Robredo Monday night.

Within a few hours, however, Robredo began inching closer to Marcos' numbers and eventually overtook him in the race around 5 a.m. Tuesday.

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista insisted there is no anomaly in the transmission of election results. He said Marcos may have gained an early lead because the latter's supposed bailiwicks in Luzon were the first to transmit partial vote counts.

"Iyung pag-transmit nito ay kumbaga, 'first come, first tallied.' Makikita ninyo ang order ng pag-transmit ng mga resulta. Ang una pong pumasok na mga resulta ay galing sa NCR (National Capital Region), Region IV-A at Region 3 -- kumbaga, iyung malalapit na lugar. Tapos pumasok din po ang Luzon," he told radio dzMM.

"Baka doon nga po malakas ang isang kandidato kung kaya't malakas siya noong simula."

ABS-CBN pre-election surveys done by Pulse Asia earlier identified Metro Manila and Luzon as the bailiwicks of Marcos while Visayas is the stronghold of Robredo.

Bautista said the public can scrutinize the breakdown of election results. "Pwede naman po kaming i-scrutinize lalong lalo na yung datos dapat bukas sa publiko para kanilang mapag-aralan," he said.

He also addressed reported discrepancies in the votes recorded by the Comelec's three servers.

He said the vote counts should theoretically be the same across the intermediate server, central server and transparency server at the PPCRV.

Bautista said minute differences in the vote tallies are due to votes that were not transmitted to all three servers. "Kung magkakalayo man, baka kasi na-transmit sa isang server iyung isang resulta na hindi na-transmit sa isang server," he said.

He said Comelec has a system for verifying the source of votes and correcting the temporary discrepancies in their servers.

Bautista said any formal complaint by the Marcos camp should not be addressed to the Comelec but Congress, which is in charge of proclaiming winning candidates for president, vice-president, Senate and party-list.

Meanwhile, the PPCRV on Wednesday also invited the camp of vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to go to their head office to monitor the last leg of vote canvassing.

PPCRV vice chairman Johnny Cardenas said the Marcos camp can check which precincts have yet to transmit election results and where they should send additional poll watchers.

According to the Comelec transparency server at the PPCRV, 95.39 percent of the votes have been tallied as of 10:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Robredo was still leading with 13,943,334 votes against Marcos' 13,718,008 votes.

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Pulse Asia president Ronnie Holmes said Marcos and Robredo are fighting a tight electoral race because of the almost equal share of voters in their regional strongholds.

He said Robredo's numbers started peaking in December in Western Visayas, which has the same number of voters as Ilocos, Marcos' bailiwick.

He said Robredo tallied a high survey rating in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao because of Marcos' stand against the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

But Holmes said the vice-presidential derby is still anybody's game as more than 500,000 votes have yet to be transmitted.

The unaccounted votes is more than the current 200,000 gap between Marcos and Robredo.

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