Robredo seeks urgent probe on Sotto's poll fraud allegations

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Vice President Leni Robredo says the poll fraud allegations are different from the claims former senator Bongbong Marcos, who ran against her in 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 10) — Vice President Leni Robredo wants an independent, urgent probe on Senate Majority Leader Tito Sotto's allegations of fraud in the 2016 presidential polls.

"Sa lalong madaling panahon, kailangang maimbestigahan ito. Sa lalong madaling panahon, kailangan mapakita na iyong nag-imbestiga nito isang independent na body, na hindi nadadamay sa pulitika, kasi apektado tayong lahat," Robredo said in an interview at the University of the Philippines Visayas - Iloilo City Campus Friday.

[Translation: There should be an immediate investigation on this, conducted by an independent body, without any politics involved, because we are all affected.]

Robredo said this is different from the accusations hurled at her by former senator Bongbong Marcos, whose poll protest questioning the results of the 2016 vice presidential vote, is pending at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

"Parang iba yata, iba iyong grounds: iyong kay Senator Bongbong iba iyong sinasabi niya, itong kay Senator Sotto bago. Pero tayo, mas interesado tayo. Tingin ko iyong accusations seryoso," he said.

[Translation: The grounds for Senator Bongbong Marcos' complaint is different from that of Senator Sotto's. But we are interested in this case because the accusations appear to be serious.]

The Vice President said the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) should immediately address the allegations and find out if there is any truth to the claims.

"Ang apektado dito iyong buong electoral process — mula kay Pangulo hanggang sa pinakamaliit na councilor sa pinakamaliit na munisipyo. Kapag kinuwestiyon mo iyong integridad ng 2016 elections, kinukuwestiyon mo iyong pagkapanalo ng lahat na pinagbotohan noong 2016," she said.

[Translation: The entire electoral process -- from the President down to councilors in the smallest towns -- is affected. If you question the integrity of the 2016 elections, you question the win of everyone.]

Sotto in Tuesday's plenary session presented documents from "reliable sources," citing two alleged irregularities in the 2016 polls: the early transmission of votes and a foreign entry into the election system.

READ: Sotto alleges 2016 election irregularity

Transmission activities were present in some towns in Albay and Rizal on May 8, 2016, even if the last official transmission test happened on April 23, 2016.

Sotto also presented documents showing the possible involvement of a cloud computing service in the United States.

Meanwhile, Marcos claimed there were irregularities in the ballot images in the previous polls -- such as the presence of "mysterious squares" in the ballots.

The COMELEC commissioners recently voted to exercise their option to purchase Smartmatic's voting counting machines for the 2019 senatorial elections.