MANILA, Philippines - He may be trailing by over 13 million votes but independent candidate Nicanor Perlas is not conceding the presidential race until he gets answers to what he perceives is a partial failure of the automated elections.
In a press statement issued Wednesday, Perlas said he will wait for the Commission on Elections' final tally and the poll body's explanation on the failure of millions of voters to cast their ballots on Election Day. He said the automated election system may have prevented as many as 5 million to 8 million from voting due to long lines and precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine failures.
"It is premature to say that the elections were fair and honest. Fast returns? Yes. Relatively peaceful? Yes. But accurate, clean and honest? Doubtful," he said.
According to the latest Comelec tally as of 9:05 a.m., Liberal Party candidate Sen. Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III continued to top the race with 13,592,809 votes, followed by Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino bet Joseph Estrada with 8,616,212 votes.
The other candidates got the following numbers: Manny Villar 4,919,314 votes; Gilbert Teodoro 3,624,820; Eddie Villanueva 1,010,756; Richard Gordon 461,997; Nick Perlas 48,336; Jamby Madrigal 41,520; and JC de los Reyes 39,521.
Villar, Teodoro, Villanueva, Gordon and de los Reyes all conceded to Aquino on Tuesday.
Perlas said he decided not to concede since it would prevent him from asking questions about the automation process. He noted that voter turnout could have reached as high as 90% or 45.63 million voters on Election Day.
"It is clear that Aquino's lead of 4.48 million votes over Estrada can be undermined by the remaining votes to be counted. Furthermore, the election returns (ER) are not statistically representative of the entire population of voters. It is thus entirely possible that the next wave of votes to be counted will show a shift in favor of Estrada and other presidential candidates," he said.
He also said a random manual audit of the PCOS machines could show further glitches in the automation process.