.- A retired Catholic archbishop in the Philippines has said he has witnesses proving that results of the country’s May 10 national elections were manipulated in some regions. The elections mark the first time an electronic voting system has been used in the country.
Archbishop Oscar Cruz, former head of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, said a former member of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) told him that election fraud plotters were trying to rig the country’s first automated polls. The official gave him a list of areas where alleged fraud was planned.
“And it’s true … it really happened here and there,” he claimed, according to CBCP News.
The archbishop said he has another witness who knows the “operators and consolidators” of the poll fraud. He added that it was beside the point who gained or who lost because of the fraud. Rather, he wanted the issue to become public to correct the mistake.
“I want these cheating (operations) to be known not to favor one candidate or to discredit the victory of another,” the archbishop clarified. “It is correcting the mistakes of the first automation.”
According to the Christian Science Monitor, Comelec contracted with the Venezuelan company Smartmatic to set up a computerized system to count the votes as they are cast.
Archbishop Cruz also questioned the delay in canvassing the remaining 10 percent of the total votes.
Results in the vice-presidential race are very close between Liberal Party Senator Manuel Roxas and Mayor of Makati Jejomar Binay of the party Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino. Binay presently leads by around 800,000 votes.
Another reputed whistleblower has claimed he was part of vote padding and vote shaving operations during the elections. The operation allegedly targeted the presidential race.
However, Archbishop Cruz and some losing candidates do not find the witness entirely credible, CBCP News reports.
The archbishop said that “naming names” was not fair and that there was a “political angle” to the video of the whistleblower, which was released by a columnist during a Manila forum organized by Catholic Church-based media organizations.
The one who brought the compact disc to the forum had not been invited, the archbishop reported.