MANILA, Philippines - Less than two weeks after the country's first nationwide automated polls, various candidates have filed election protests before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
Losing Quezon City mayoral candidate Mike Defensor filed his protest on Thursday, claiming the automated election system does not reflect the true will of the people.
Defensor, who lost to his rival Herbert Bautista by 373,716 votes according to the official canvass, said votes for him were not counted accurately in most of the city's clustered precincts.
"Para bang naka-program ang lahat ng boto," he told reporters after filing his protest.
In one precinct, for instance, Defensor said he got no vote according to the transmitted results. However, a voter in that precinct who saw the results online wrote Defensor to say his whole family voted for him, which meant that the transmitted results were erroneous.
The letter prompted Defensor to have voters in some precincts sign affidavits that they voted for him. He said that in many precincts, the number of voters who signed affidavits is more then the official number of votes for him counted by the PCOS machine.
"Clearly, their votes were not counted and they were unduly disenfranchised," a part of his protest stated.
Defensor also complained that the random manual audit was not conducted in any of the precincts in his district-or if ever it was, his camp wasn't informed. "It's odd because that should have been done right after the elections," he said.
Defensor also doubts the city's 71.28 percent voter turnout, saying it is impossible to accommodate that many voters in the 11-hour voting period considering that time and motion studies say one voter takes an average of eight minutes to fill up the ballot.
"Sana mapatunayan nila na mali kami," he said. "Kung mapatunayan na kami ay tama, ito ay malaking butas sa automation."
Bribery, pre-shaded ballots
Like Defensor, losing North Cotabato gubernatorial candidate Emmanual Pinol is also puzzled at the 99% voter turnout in his province, which is a huge leap from their usual 60%-65% turnout in past elections.
Aside from this, Pinol also decried incidents of bribery and pre-shaded ballots in a number of precincts.
North Cotabato's incumbent vice governor showed reporters photocopies of P500 bills allegedly used to bribe members of the board of election inspectors (BEI). He said a total of P10,000 was found in the envelope where the election returns are stored in a precinct in Midsayap town.
"This just proves our suspicion that the BEIs were bribed," he said.
He also said voters in more than 300 precincts reported that pre-shaded ballots in favor of his rival were given to them.
Others who filed
Aside from Defensor and Pinol, the Comelec has received election protests from 10 other candidates so far:
1. Jose Atienza Jr. - candidate for Mayor, Manila City
2. Antonio Gatuslao - candidate for Mayor, Himamaylan City
3. Arcadio Gapangada - candidate for Mayor, San Pablo Laguna
4. Rosenaida Rosales - candidate for Vice Governor, Samar City
5. Pancracio Nisce - candidate for Vice Mayor, San Fernando La Union
6. Alfredo Cheng - candidate for Mayor, Marikina City
7. Ernie Alfredo - candidate for Councilor, Davao City
8. Nicanor Comia - candidate for Councilor, Trece Martirez City
9. Ebergerson Garcia - candidate for Councilor, Trece Martirez City
10. Erwin Genuino - candidate for Mayor, Makati City