By MARIA FEONA IMPERIAL
VICE presidential aspirant Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claims a “new script” was entered into the transparency servers of election returns which eroded his lead over administration bet Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo.
In a press conference today, the Marcos camp said at 7:30 p.m. on May 9, a computer command was introduced to the transparency servers–the basis of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV)’s quick count, which had altered the hash codes of the packet data.
The change was introduced while the whole country was asleep on election night, the Marcos camp said.
It was at around 9 p.m., after such script was entered into the system, that Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo started to overtake Marcos’ “substantial lead,” a press statement from the senator read.
Robredo has since then led by over 200,000 votes.
As of 6:53 p.m. today, the PPCRV count shows Robredo ahead of Marcos by 229,675 votes. Transmission rate is at 96.85 percent as of noon per Comelec.
“Did Comelec know about the introduction of this new script? How does the new script affect the data and data reception of the transparency server? The public deserves to find out,” the Marcos camp said in a statement.
It also questioned the transmission of election returns to the PPCRV transparency server, citing “irregularities” and “conflicting unofficial results.”
Yesterday, Marcos called out the poll body to stop the partial and unofficial count of the PPCRV to avoid sowing “conflict and confusion.”
The Marcos camp said an “alarming and suspicious trend” had emerged from a “glitch in canvassing” while the whole country was asleep on election night.
Robredo’s lead is “not consistent” with the results of exit polls, which showed that Marcos won the hotly contested vice presidential race, the Marcos camp claimed.
But if the results of the exit polls are to be believed, Robredo’s camp said the Camarines Sur representative was ahead of surveys even before May 9.
Sought for comment, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez told reporters: “We are trying to get information on the claim; we don’t know the nature of the allegation.”
Earlier today, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the en banc may consider looking into Marcos’ allegations.
But only when Marcos provides substantial evidence of bad faith or fraud through a petition will the Comelec consider his plea of halting the quick count of election returns.
“But he has not written us. His lawyers have not filed anything, I think they’re just saying it in the media, but there is no petition for us to act on,” said Guanzon.
“Perhaps if Senator Marcos could give us substantial evidence of bad faith or fraud, then, the en banc can consider (his request),” she added.
But otherwise, Guanzon said, the law allows it.
Under Republic Act 8436 or the automated elections law, quick counts from transparency servers are allowed even while canvassing is ongoing.
The quick counts, Guanzon said, are supposed to erase doubts in the credibility of the elections, granting the people’s right to information.
An accredited partner of the Comelec, the PPCRV draws its election returns directly from the 92,509 clustered precincts nationwide.
Comelec, meanwhile, observes a ladderized process in counting, starting from the city or municipality level to the provincial, regional and the national canvassing stationed at the Philippine International Convention Center.
Guanzon said it is the PPCRV that should answer to Marcos’ claims.
The Marcos camp is confident of still winning the elections, especially that results of Overseas Absentee Voting, where Marcos is strong, have not yet been fully accounted for.
“It’s a tight race. I can understand why Senator Marcos is really on his toes,” Guanzon said.
But even if the Marcos camp submits a petition, a recount could not be done while the canvassing is ongoing, Guanzon said.
Only 10 days after a winning presidential or vice presidential candidate is proclaimed can a losing bet file a protest to be acted on by the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Guanzon added that Marcos’ watchers from his political party may also tally election returns on their own.
But if there really is a discrepancy between the PPCRV count and the Comelec server, Guanzon said it could be resolved by the “best evidence,” which, in this case are the election returns.
“We will open it even if it takes forever,” the commissioner said.