An official from Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) urged Commission on Elections to suspend the proclamation of winners for the 2019 senatorial elections because of alleged irregularities happened in the middle of the voting period.
CBCP National Secretariat for Social Action-Justice and Peace executive secretary Father Edwin Gariguez called for the suspension of the proclamation, saying that the election results might be inaccurate.
“We are calling to suspend the proclamation of winning senatorial candidates until the issue of fraud is resolved,” he said.
“We demand an independent and impartial investigation of the alleged fraud and manipulation of automated canvassing by Comelec and Smartmatic, there should be no proclamation until the fraud-tainted results are validated,” he added.
Gariguez denied that CBCP’s decision to call for a suspension is related to the defeat of all Otso Diretso candidates in the unofficial tally.
“This is not about Otso Diretso, although when I saw the results I could not react immediately. Something is fishy here…it’s really questionable,” he said.
Gariguez is also the priest who shared the news about several dioceses who decided to endorse Otso Diretso.
The priest is not the only person who questioned the results of the election, even the Liberal Party officials and members and other opposition groups are still not convinced by the credibility of the count.
However, COMELEC said that the reason of CBCP is not enough to suspend the proclamation of winners.
“If an allegation of fraud were enough to suspend a proclamation then there would never be any proclamation because if I were losing all I’d have to do is alleged fraud and everything comes to a standstill. It’s not conducive to orderly elections. So it’s unlikely that there will be a suspension on the basis of allegations alone,” COMELEC spokesman James Jimenez said.
“Apart from the fact that in this particular case these allegations of fraud are largely speculative. In fact, I would say that they are 100 percent speculative because everyone who had a window into what actually happened they are unanimous in saying that nothing happened. You have PPCRV, you have the watchers, Lente all of them were saying that nothing amiss. There was nothing wrong, there was a problem with the small part of the process but it would not affect the integrity of the results,” he added.