Comelec to look into ‘flaws’ of 2016 polls

MANILA The Commission on Elections (Comelec) would look into the allegations of irregularities in the May 2016 national and local elections bared by Senator Vicente Sotto III, its spokesperson said Wednesday.

The Commission understands the grave importance of this matter and will, itself, strive to determine the veracity of these claims, said James Jimenez.

He said they would coordinate with the office of the senator as they want to evaluate the documents.

Again, as far as the Comelec is concerned, the best course of action right now is to reach out to the Senator and to ask him to show us what he has. And then we evaluate it, Jimenez said in an interview.

If we are going to evaluate together then let's evaluate it together. The point is to see what was done. What are the consequences of the act that was being alleged in this case, he added.

On the other hand, election watchdog groups want an independent group to investigate Sotto's allegations.

National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) secretary general Eric Alvia noted that competent authorities in the proper forum or venue must conduct the probe.

Currently, election protest cases lodged at various electoral tribunals and the Joint Congressional Oversight Committee on the Automated Elections System convening will settle this issue, he said.

For Kontra Daya, they want the poll body and an independent panel of experts to examine Sotto's allegations of fraud in the last national polls.

Now that Sotto has said his piece, it is now imperative for him to share whatever information he has to the Comelec and concerned election monitoring groups, the group said in a statement.

From the very start, we in Kontra Daya have stressed the vulnerability of the automated election system. We have also denounced the lack of transparency, not to mention the foreign intervention to our national and local polls with the awarding of the contract to Smartmatic, it added.

On Tuesday, Sotto said results of the May 2016 national elections may have been altered due to alleged irregularities, such as the transmission of votes happening a day before the actual counting of ballots.

The senator added that his impeccably reliable source also believes that the election servers were also accessed by a foreign entity before, during, and after the polls.

Meanwhile, the camp of former Senator Bongbong Marcos lauded the action taken by Sotto for exposing the supposed poll irregularities.

Senator Bongbong Marcos is happy that he is no longer a voice in the wilderness. He noted that other patriotic leaders and stakeholders have seen the extent of the conspiracy, interference and manipulation of the election results by Smartmatic and have begun to speak out, Marcos' spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, said in a statement.

We congratulate Senator Tito Sotto for bringing the election anomalies to the attention of the public. Informed observers have wondered why � despite all the evidence of massive cheating committed by Smartmatic, the Comelec still awarded them the contract to do the same thing all over again in the forthcoming 2019 elections. We have never understood Comelec's insistence in again awarding Smartmatic despite the multitude transgressions attributed to it, he added.

Rodriguez noted that Sotto's allegations should be investigated and answered by the poll body and the service-provider in the May 2016 polls.

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, he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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