By Leslie Ann Aquino
The social action arm of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) wants the proclamation of winning senators in the May 13 midterm polls suspended amid fraud allegations.
The CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action Justice and Peace said the proclamation should be suspended until fraud allegations have been impartially investigated and resolved.
“We are calling to suspend the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates until the issue of fraud is resolved,” said Father Edwin Gariguez, executive secretary of CBCP Nassa.
“We demand for an independent and impartial investigation of the alleged fraud and manipulation of automated canvassing by Comelec and Smartmatic,” he added.
“There should be no proclamation until the fraud tainted results are validated,” said Gariguez.
In an interview, the priest stressed that they are not doing this for “Otso Diretso”.
Before the May 13 polls, Gariguez revealed that some priests would be supporting a number of candidates of the opposition slate so as to have independent minded people in the senate.
The partial unofficial count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting however, showed administration allies dominating the senatorial race.
“This is not about Otso Diretso,” Gariguez said,
“Although when I saw the results I could not react immediately. Something is fishy here…it’s really questionable,” he added.
The NASSA official referred to the delay in the release of the election results in the transparency server Monday night which the poll body said was only due to the inflow of the arrival of data.
Sought for his reaction, Comelec spokesman James Jimenez said it is very unlikely that they will suspend the proclamation based on a mere allegation.
“If an allegation of fraud were enough to suspend a proclamation then there would never be any proclamation because if I were losing all I’d have to do is alleged fraud and everything comes to a standstill. It’s not conducive to an orderly elections. So it’s unlikely that there will be a suspension on the basis of allegations alone,” he said.
“Apart from the fact that in this particular case these allegations of fraud are largely speculative. In fact, I would say that they are 100 percent speculative because everyone who had a window into what actually happened they are unanimous in saying that nothing happened. You have PPCRV, you have the watchers, Lente all of them were saying that nothing amiss. There was nothing wrong, there was a problem with the small part of the process but it would not affect the integrity of the results,” added Jimenez. #MatalinongBoto2019