Sotto’s 2016 poll fraud claim affects Duterte down to councilors – Robredo
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo wants the investigation on Senator Vicente Sotto III’s allegations of electoral fraud in 2016 to push through, saying it affects all those who won in the last national polls, including President Rodrigo Duterte himself.
Why she wants the probe: On Friday, March 9, Robredo was asked about the Sotto's allegation in a recent privilege speech of early transmission of votes and foreign access to election servers.
“Tingin ko iyong accusations seryoso. Tayo, sa lalong madaling panahon, dapat sana maimbestigahan ito, kasi hindi naman ako [lang] iyong apektado dito. Ang apektado dito iyong buong electoral process – mula kay Pangulo hanggang sa pinakamaliit na councilor sa pinakamaliit na munisipyo,” the Vice President told reporters in Iloilo.
(I think the accusations are serious. For me, the investigation should begin as soon as possible because I’m not the only one affected here. The whole electoral process is affected – from the President down to the councilors of the smallest municipalities.)
Why it matters: Robredo said questioning the integrity of the 2016 elections also means questioning the victory of all winning candidates.
“Kaya sa lalong madaling panahon, kailangang maimbestigahan ito. Sa lalong madaling panahon, kailangan mapakita na iyong nag-imbestiga nito isang independent na body, na hindi nadadamay sa pulitika, kasi apektado tayong lahat,” said the Vice President.
(That is why this needs to be probed soonest. The investigating body must be proven to be independent, not involved in politics, since the allegations affect all of us.)
Will it affect the electoral protest against the Vice President? No, at least according to Robredo.
The Vice President said the accusations of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr against her are different from Sotto’s allegations.
“Parang iba yata, iba iyong grounds. Iyong kay Senator Bongbong, iba iyong sinasabi niya, itong kay Senator Sotto bago,” said Robredo.
(The grounds seem to be different. Senator Bongbong is saying one thing, Senator Sotto's [allegation] is something new.)
Marcos, however, does not share the same view. His lawyer and spokesperson Vic Rodriguez said Sotto is now among the people who are seeing the “extent of the conspiracy, interference, and manipulation of the election results by Smartmatic,” the manufacturer of the vote counting machines.
“We congratulate Senator Tito Sotto for bringing the election anomalies to the attention of the public… All the issues raised by Senator Sotto need to be investigated and all the questions he asked need to be answered by both Smartmatic and the COMELEC,” said Rodriguez.
Robredo beat Marcos by only 263,473 votes in the 2016 vice presidential polls, leading the latter to claim Robredo cheated him of victory, and fiing an electoral protest against her. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
Marcos' electoral protest has 3 causes of actions:
- Questioning the integrity of the entire 2016 automated elections
- Seeking a ballot recount in 36,465 clustered precincts
- Calling for the nullification of votes in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), already junked Marcos’ first cause of action and upheld the integrity of the 2016 polls.
On March 19, the PET is set to begin the ballot recount for the 3 pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental. The results of this initial recount will determine whether or not Marcos’ two remaining causes of action have merit. – Rappler.com