[OPINION] Understand the reasons behind the ‘petition to investigate the 2022 Philippine election’

THE much-awaited May 9 elections in the Philippines have left many kababayans with more questions than answers following the overwhelming lead of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and running mate Sara Duterte over Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan in the race for president and vice president.

The latest partial, unofficial results aggregated from Comelec data as of May 12, 2022 from 98.35% of election returns show the following:

President

Bongbong Marcos: 31,104,175 votes

Leni Robredo:  14,822,051 votes

Vice President:

Sara Duterte:  31,561,948 votes

Kiko Pangilinan:  9,232,883 votes

Moreover, only Sen. Risa Hontiveros among those in the Leni-Kiko Team made it to the Magic 12 among senatorial candidates at 12th place. The leading candidates who garnered the greatest number of votes include familiar names: Actor Robin Padilla, Loren Legarda, Taffy Tulfo, Win Gatchalian, Chiz Escudero, Mark Villar, Alan Peter Cayetano, Migz Zubiri, Joel Villanueva, JV Estrada Ejercito and Jinggoy Estrada.

While other presidential aspirants like Manny Pacquiao and Isko Moreno have conceded, Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Kiko Pangilinan have not, and met with their supporters on Friday, May 13, for a night of Thanksgiving dubbed as “Tayo ang Liwanag: Isang Pasasalamat” at the Ateneo de Manila University grounds near the Jesuit Church.

Though heartbroken and mourning, most of their supporters begged for Leni and Kiko NOT to concede because of the doubts on the integrity of the recently concluded election. Leni and Kiko believed it is important to address these concerns and questions.

“Hanggang sa mga oras na ito ay marami sa inyo ang pinoproseso pa rin ang latat ng nangyari kahapon,” Pangilinan said on Twitter in the wake of the election. “Hindi kayo nag-iisa dahil narito kami at ramdam namin kayo. Marami din kaming katanungan na patuloy naming hinahanapan ng kasagutan.’

Ahead of the “Tayo ang Liwanag: Isang Pasasalamat” night of Thanksgiving, Kiko tweeted: “I recall a quote, taken in the context of pushing for meaningful reforms in governance, that has inspired me for over a decade: ‘There is no such thing as failure, only delay.’ Hindi pa tayo tapos sa ating sama-samang ipinaglalaban. Tuloy and pagmamahal sa kapwa at sa bayan.”

Private citizens have launched an online petition via change.org to seek answers to these questions by demanding for an investigation into the May 9 Elections.

Let me share with you the contents of the petition, their rationale for seeking the investigation, as stated on Change.org. If you are among those who were disenfranchised and denied of your right to vote, if you think Comelec did not do its part to ensure an honest, clean and fair election, if you think we can learn something from the investigation on this civic exercise moving forward, you may want to want to sign the petition (link at the end of the article). But first, read:

Investigate the 2022 Philippine Elections

We had cast our votes on May 9, but significant issues plague the 2022 National Elections. Hundreds of vote counting machines failed. Those who were unable to endure the interminable wait for the repair or replacement of defective VCMs were effectively disenfranchised. In some voting precincts, the 4th copy of the election return was not released to the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV). Voting receipts were stored in unsecured cardboard boxes. There are reports of widespread vote buying that capitalized on the poverty and helplessness resulting from Duterte’s bungled pandemic response. These issues fuel discontent and suspicions and there are allegations of electronic vote rigging.

We call for an independent and speedy investigations of these reported irregularities. We particularly demand that those responsible for the inexcusable number of defective voting machines be held accountable.

In the coming days, two verification processes will get underway. The PPCRV will collate, encode and canvass their physical copies of the election returns (ER) printed by the VCMs at the end of the voting. The COMELEC will conduct a random manual audit of selected precincts in the presence of, among others, the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL). It is very important that two upcoming verification processes are perceived to be credible and above board.

The investigations and verification processes may yet confirm that the Marcos-Duterte tandem won the elections. We should then analyze the underlying reasons for this. The progressive movement should undertake a discernment process to analyze and cull lessons from, not only the 7-month election campaign, but from the past three and a half decades after we kicked out the dictator. From this discernment process, we can build a better, bigger and more resilient movement that will ensure that democracy will work for the people, not just for the few who control the economic and political levers of Philippine society.

And even if the election results are found to be the true reflection of the people’s will, they do not absolve Marcos Jr. and his cohorts of the sin of deliberately misleading the Filipino people through fake news and historical distortion. The Marcos-Duterte tandem has yet to lay down their plan for the country aside from the laughable promise to bring down the price of rice to twenty pesos. It is not unthinkable that a Marcos-Duterte regime will continue with the present regime’s policy of trampling upon the fundamental rights of Filipinos. The post-COVID recovery will likely be hobbled with the same incompetence and venality shown by the present regime’s handling of the pandemic.

In the face of this dire possibility, it is important for the Pink Movement to rise beyond its grief and disbelief to repurpose the People’s Campaign into a powerful political force that can resist the further erosion of people’s democratic rights and the further deterioration of the quality of life of the citizens of this country. Let the words of Vice President Leni be our guide and inspiration:

“Walang nasayang; hindi tayo nabigo. Pinakamahalaga, hindi pa tayo tapos. Nagsisimula pa lang tayo…May kilusang isinilang at hindi ito papanaw sa pagtatapos ng bilangan. Ang namulat, di na muling mapipikit. Hindi natin kailanman hahayaang makatulog muli ang pag-asang nagising.”

Sign the petition online: https://www.change.org/p/investigate-the-2022-philippine-elections.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989. She was a news anchor, TV host and radio commentator and public service host for ABS- CBN and DZMM. She is now working on her advocacies independently, serving the Filipino audience using different  media platforms. You may contact her through email at gelrelos@icloud.com, or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos. Also on Twitter, Instagram: Gel Santos Relos

 

Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

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