Comelec chair to poll whistleblowers: 'Why now?'

COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) chairman Juan Andres Bautista questioned why the three whistleblowers who claimed instrumental to "electoral fraud" only came out on Monday, hours before the scheduled proclamation of the president-elect and vice president-elect.

"What immediately entered my mind is that they are "like too late the hero." Why only now? If they really have evidence of fraud, why did they come out only now? It has been three weeks since the elections. They should have come out immediately," he said in a radio interview.

Pastor Boy Saycon of the Council of Philippine Affairs (Copa) presented the three whistleblowers at the Senate.

On the other hand, Bautista downplayed the claims of electoral fraud by the whistleblowers, noting the safeguards they have placed in the automated election system (AES).

"There are many checks and balances, several safeguards. That's why I cannot believe these kinds of accusations and claims," he noted.

Bautista particularly cited the presence of the website showing all the Election Returns (ERs) from the 92,509 clustered precincts as being a counterchecking measure available to everybody as well as the issuance of voting receipts on election day and the ongoing random manual audit (RMA).

Bautista said that several individuals have also claimed electoral fraud in previous elections, but there has yet to be any solid evidence presented.

"Since 2010, there has been no case that has progressed in any court that would concretize such claims of poll frauds," he added.

Nevertheless, he assured that they will accept any election fraud cases that may be filed before them.

"We are open to them if they have evidence and proof. It is easy to make accusations. It is easy to throw mud. It happens all the time. The problem is in the evidence. We should be responsible. If we have accusations, we should be able to support it with enough evidence,” Bautista said.

On Monday, the whistleblowers claimed to have participation in the supposed rigging of election results in Quezon benefitting candidates of the Liberal Party, particularly standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II and his running mate Leni Robredo.

The Comelec proclaimed Robredo as the winner in the May 9 vice presidential race. (FP/Sunnex)
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