Duterte 'magic?' Bayan claims 'systematic cheating' in polls

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 15 2019 08:31 PM

Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo. File

MANILA- Malacañang on Wednesday urged losing candidates in the midterm elections to accept defeat after allegations of "systematic cheating" were linked to President Rodrigo Duterte.

Bayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes on Wednesday criticized the Palace for attributing the dominance of the President's allies in the midterm polls to "Duterte magic."

Reyes said the so-called Duterte magic "is the reason why the poll results are not credible."

"It was the systematic cheating and rigging of the elections which gave us these results," he said.

The left-leaning leader alleged that the Duterte magic for the midterm polls consists of using government resources to help administration candidates, use of law enforcement to harass opposition groups, and control the Commission on Elections and "hocus-pocus of the automated polls" among others.

Allies of the President are poised to win 9 out of 12 Senate seats based on partial, unofficial election returns as of Wednesday.

Opposition senatorial slate Otso Diretso, meanwhile, is headed for a stunning loss with not even a single candidate breaking in to the top 12 as seen in the partial, unofficial tally.

The Duterte administration endorsed the candidacy of several politicians under its umbrella through the ruling PDP-Laban party and regional party Hugpong ng Pagbabago, chaired by the President's eldest daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said allegations of cheating were expected from Reyes following the "crushing" defeat of their senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Reyes -- instead of throwing in the towel and yield to the resounding voice of the electorate -- opts to throw his false and malicious narratives at the Duterte administration," Panelo said in a statement.

"We hope that Mr. Reyes would be humble enough to accept the electoral defeat even as we are magnanimous in our triumph," he said.

Colmenares, who is lagging in the senatorial race, said Tuesday that he will "never concede" and will continue to fight against a "rotten electoral exercise."

"Neri Colmenares is correct in refusing to concede due to the fraudulent nature of the polls. He is sounding off the call to denounce fraud and hold accountable those responsible," Reyes said as he urged the public to join Black Friday protests against supposed poll fraud on May 17.

Panelo meanwhile explained that in claiming that the Duterte magic helped the administration-backed candidates to win, he meant "the total package of sterling performance and good governance the President delivers to the people."

"President Duterte will never interfere with the election process, as well as frustrate the sovereign will of the people, for such is the very process which propelled him to the presidency," the Duterte spokesman said.

"The electorate has seen through the sophistry of espousing their (Bayan) feigned brand of nationalism for many decades, taking advantage of the poor man’s plight," he said.

Instead of criticizing the President, the opposition should have presented an alternative platform of governance, Panelo explained.

"Our people’s rejection should have been a wake-up call to re-assess their actions," he said.

"The sovereign voice has spoken. We urge the opposition, the critics and the detractors to bow to the majesty of the rule of the majority, lest we are swept away by the rampaging tidal waves of change," he said.