House concludes poll fraud hearing

06/09/2010 - THE House of Representatives wrapped up Tuesday its investigation on alleged poll irregularities, promising to release its finding before the inauguration of the new president on June 30.

Makati Representative Teodoro Locsin Jr., chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, said he will come out with a committee report that will exclude hearsays and theoretical assumptions.

“We will review the statements made by specific complainants. We will ignore general statements of nightmare scenarios. We will ignore testimonies of marsupials and then from there we can make a conclusion,” Locsin told reporters.

He added that his committee will put up a website where ordinary citizens can view the stenographic notes of the hearing, citing the automation has been useful in improving the election system in the Philippines.

“For those against automation, they will have a wealth of data to challenge the system,” said Locsin.

Smartmatic fate

Cesar Flores, Smartmatic Asia Pacific president, expected that the company will be cleared from any liability, citing their consistent and honest answers to accusers.

“Fortunately, we were able to show through evidence, through science, through technology that these cheating allegations were not possible and we showed that the results cannot be manipulated,” he said.

When asked if Smartmatic-TIM is now off the hook, Locsin said the critics seemed to be satisfied with the explanation given by the consortium.

“I asked the Smartmatic a summary of the Cabuyao visit. When I get to the bottom of it, they passed the test,” he pointed out.

The investigation that started last May 19 showed defeated bets all claiming they were robbed of victory, ventilating their ire to the officials of Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic-TIM for failing to contain alleged poll fraud operators.

But Flores retorted: “We guarantee to the Filipino people that all the ballots that were fed into the PCOS machines were counted correctly, everything was canvassed correctly.”

Meanwhile, defeated Quezon City mayoralty candidate Annie Rosa Susano said she will turn over the “authentic” CF cards in her possession to Locsin as a “souvenir of history.”

Challenge to Aquino

As the committee winded up its investigation, supporters of defeated presidential bets Eddie Villanueva, Nicanor Perlas, John Carlos De los Reyes, and Jamby Madrigal staged a “Rally for Truth” at the South Gate of the Lower House.

Perlas and De los Reyes detailed anew the presence of automated cheating in the elections, while Villanueva appealed to President-apparent Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to look into the allegations of election fraud.

“There’s a lot of explaining to do as to how the automated electoral system was carried out. For one, it did not comply with the requirements of law and the Supreme Court,” Villanueva said.

But Flores maintained that the automated elections is so far the “cleanest” in the country’s history but admitted that system still needs improvement (Sun Star)

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