Comelec defers action on Marcos audit request

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Sen. Bongbong Marcos' camp is also asking Comelec to provide them with a list of all of its local and foreign consultants.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has decided not to grant a request by vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. for an audit of the automated election system, Comelec officials said Wednesday (May 25).

Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista said he and the seven other commissioners decided unanimously to defer taking action on Marcos' request, saying the poll body gave all candidates and political parties eight months to review the system — and that should have been enough to satisfy the senator.

Bautista added it would not be proper for a candidate, like Marcos, to audit the system now that Congress is in the process of officially canvassing the results of the presidential and vice-presidential races.

"Alam din naman natin, ang kapangyarihang magproklama ng pangulo at pangalawang pangulo ay ibinibigay ng Saligang Batas sa Kongreso. So ano ang magiging epekto kung hahayaan namin magkaroon ng audit na ganito na ginagawa ng isang kandidato?" said Bautista.

[Translation: We all know that the power to proclaim the president and the vice president has been given by the Constitution to Congress. So what effect will there be if we allow a candidate to undertake this kind of audit?]

He expressed concern about what Marcos might do with the findings of an audit.

"May nahain na mga criminal complaints laban nga sa Smartmatic at ilang mga kawani ng Comelec ... Kapag nag-audit, ano bang mangyayari? Kapag may nahanap, gagamitin ba yung mga ebidensyang yan dun sa mga kasong naisampa?" he said.

[Translation: Criminal complaints have been filed against some Smartmatic and Comelec staff. … If we conduct an audit, what will happen? If they find something, will that be used as evidence in the case that were filed?]

Marcos sought a poll system audit, claiming there were irregularities in the unofficial count by the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) based on data from the transparency server.

Bautista said they are willing to let independent, non-partisan I.T. practitioners check the system.

Marcos' campaign manager Rep. Jonathan Dela Cruz accused officials of Smartmatic and Comelec of breaking the automated election law when they accessed and edited the script of the transparency server hours after the polls closed on May 9 without the Comelec's permission.