MANILA, Philippines — The camp of presidential candidate and former senator Bongbong Marcos has claimed that votes for their candidate went to rival Vice President Leni Robredo — an assertion that the latter’s side denies any knowledge of.
In a statement on Monday, election day, the Marcos camp said that they got reports of defective vote counting machines (VCMs) that supposedly produced results in favor of Robredo, even if the voter supposedly picked Marcos.
The side of Marcos said that complaints came from the towns of Narvacan, Sta. Cruz, and Burgos in Ilocos Sur, as well as in Tabuk City, Kalinga — known bailiwicks of the Marcoses. The voters have allegedly filed complaints before their respective boards of election inspector (BEIs).
“We are taking note of these complaints but we are confident that the Comelec (Commission on Elections) is ready for any eventualities especially against attempts by some groups to subvert the genuine outcome of this all-important and history-making political exercise,” Marcos spokesperson Atty. Vic Rodriguez said.
But for election lawyer Romulo Macalintal, head of Robredo’s legal team for this polls, the Vice President’s camp knows no knowledge about the incident, saying that it might be either due to error on the part of the voter or because the voter really picked Robredo for president.
“Di umano may irregularities daw sa mga areas ng Solid North, sinasabi raw nila na may defective counting machines, ang boto raw para kay Bongbong ‘pag tinignan ang resibo ay na kay Vice President Leni Robredo. Hindi namin alam kung totoo ‘yang balitang ‘yan,” Macalintal said.
“Baka naman ‘yan […] ay nagkamali lamang ‘yong kanilang mga botante, o talagang mga botante talaga ng sinasabi nilang sa areas nila na malakas sila, ay talagang bumoboto para kay Vice President. Lalong-lalo na, sabi nga ng mga tao sa kampanya na mga tiga-Ilocos, mga tiga-North, sabi nila ‘awan ti Solid North’,” he added, referring to the battlecry of Robredo supporters in Northern Luzon.
Furthermore, Macalintal said that he does not believe that the VCMs are programmed in a way that votes for Marcos will go to Robredo — adding that if voters really shaded the wrong ballot, they have to just to accept it and move on.
In the ballot for the 2022 national elections, Marcos’ and Robredo’s name can be seen seated beside each other. Marcos is the seventh candidate on the list, while Robredo is the tenth.
“Tanging ‘yong botante lamang ang nakaka-alam niyan. Ayaw nating pangunahan ‘yong mga botante, pero hindi naman kami naniniwala na ‘yong makina is programmed in such a way that the vote of Marcos will go to Robredo, or it will be credited for the Vice President,” he said.
“Kung talagang nagkamali ‘yong botante, eh wala na hong magagawa […] if you committed error in shading the wrong name of your supposed candidates, eh you can no longer retrieve the ballot from the ballot boxes. You just charge it to experience,” he added.
Macalintal also said that Marcos’ camp should respect the ballot, as what has been cast cannot be changed.
“Dapat i-galang ni Mr. Marcos ang nakalagay sa balota, he should respect the personal choice of the voter, he should never question the intelligence of the voter […] siguro paliwanagan na lamang niya na, kung nagkamali, tanggapin natin ang pagkakamali. Pero do not give false hopes to the voters that they could still correct what they have done,” he noted.
Marcos and Robredo are up for a battle again, this time for the presidency — six years after the two fought for the vice presidential post. The most recent survey from Pulse Asia, held last April 16 to 21, showed that Robredo only got 23 percent of the votes if elections were held on those days.
In contrast, Marcos got 56 percent.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.