Tribunal unwitting tool in poll fraud—Philconsa

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THE Philippine Constitution Association on Monday described the Presidential Electoral Tribunal as an unwitting tool in cheating in the elections because it takes a long time to resolve election protests, just like the protest filed by former senator and losing vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

Philconsa urged the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, to expedite election-protest cases because anyone who had not been elected by the people should have no place in the government.

“I hope they [the PET] will act more expeditiously for the simple reason that anyone who is not truly elected by the people to me is a bogus official, just a great pretender who has no right in the government,” Philconsa Chairman Manuel Lazaro said.

Philconsa linked with Tanggulang Demokrasya Inc. to come up with recommendations on how to expedite election-protest cases to “weed out interlopers or pseudo-officials elected through the optical mark recognition machines.”

Philconsa Chairman Manuel Lazaro

Former Biliran Rep. Glenn Chong said the courts, including the PET, had been unwitting tools in the cheating because it was taking a long time to resolve election-protest cases.

“On the average, election contests covering the presidential elections take about three to four years to get resolved and in all cases, the protest is overtaken by the next elections where the protestant chose to run for and assume another position whereby rendering the protest moot and academic,” he said.

“For the vice presidency, the case filed by Senator Marcos has not gotten past the preliminary conference stage one year to the day after it was filed. We have not gotten forward yet.”

Chong also noted that since 2010, they had filed several cases against the Comelec and Smartmatic but almost all had not been acted upon, saying the failure of the concerned government bodies to act on their complaints and petitions had emboldened cheaters in government and the “mafia” to continue with manipulating the elections.

“The mafia in the Comelec with Smartmatic always got away with their lies because our government agencies like the Office of the Ombudsman, the Department of Justice and even the Supreme Court have failed to act with dispatch on our complaints,” Chong said.

Lazaro said Chong’s account  bolstered Philconsa’s  resolve to push for amendments in the Automated Election System. 

He said Philconsa would push for a ‘‘hybrid’’ form of election replacing the current full automation system. 

“For one thing, I never believed in automated elections,” Lazaro said. 

“I’ve always been for hybrid elections meaning manual voting, manual counting but automated transmission. We are preparing that and will support amending the present automation law.”

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