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Bacolod City, Philippines Thursday, May 19, 2016
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From the Center
with Rolly Espina
OPINIONS

More protests

Rolly EspinaThe headlines are filled with possible clamor for recount from those who did not make it in the last elections. Perhaps, indeed there are reasons, perhaps none, but since we are in a democratic country, we have to satisfy the rights of those who claim they were defrauded in the polls.

While this election is said to be more credible than in the past, there have been incidents that raise some questions, among which is the discovery of three Comelec SD cards that were found by scavengers in the Kabankalan dumpsite.

I was told that administrative investigations are ongoing and I hope this will be hastened so Comelec will retain its integrity.

I saw the news report on ABS-CBN who interviewed scavengers and who alleged that they were told, they'd be given reward if they can locate the missing SD cards.

Comelec Kabankalan alleged that it was mistakenly thrown in the garbage bins and before they noticed it missing, the garbage collectors had hauled them to the dumpsite, warranting one of the staff to proceed to the area and try to retrieve it.

This whole story sounds fishy, though. We all know that right after the polls close, the SD cards are the most important thing that the BOIs must surrender to the Comelec chair for disposition of the same to the provincial Comelec head.

The SD cards are even more important at this point than the vote counting machines since all information by then are stored in those miniature compartments. If indeed Comelec has done its work, they should have informed the BOIs and their chairs that they should guard the SD cards with their lives.

To have it end in the dumpsite and for Comelec keeping silent about it until the media caught the story makes it even more suspicious. Nevertheless, I leave it up to the provincial Comelec chair to hand in the results of their investigation.

Rep. Jeffrey Ferrer is joining the call of Talisay and Silay bets who seeking for the validity of the results in their areas. As he mentioned, Jeffrey is not going after the post that has been confirmed to re-elected Vice Gov. Bong Lacson, but it is part of the exercise to satisfy his supporters' and his slates' call for clean and honest elections.

The biggest factor in all these allegations I think is the fact that the Comelec en banc is actually going to investigate the tampering by Smartmatic officials of the server during the canvassing. If Smartmatic can tamper with it, what prevents others from bidding to have the local results be tampered as well.

More so since we just experienced the biggest money laundering investigation ever which shows that even the most-secured financial institutions are susceptible to hacking. This is the downside of computerization I guess and while we scramble to ensure our security systems are secure enough, the hackers are also competing on who can get to the servers first and do the most damage.

Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella is not also conceding until he gets verified information that no fraud happened. This despite the pronouncements of Bacolod Comelec Chair, Mavil Majarucon-Sia that a random manual audit conducted shows the results were accurate.

 

As Mayor Newks said, it is not that he lost in the race but the impossibility of the margin made by winning candidate, Rep. Bing Leonardia and majority of his slate. Thus, and again, because the Comelec is not free from questions at this point, it is best to satisfy everyone's complaint.

Of course, it is difficult to move on when these protests are hanging over your shoulder. Winning candidates will always have this posed over their head, whether indeed they won fair and square and got the mandate of the people.

And in line with this, healing will be difficult as each camp will continue to stand their ground.

In addendum, I am so happy to see San Enrique Mayor Mario “Mayoc” Magno in high spirits during his oathtaking, along with his winning slate, administered by Gov. Freddie Maranon at the Planta Hotel last Monday.

I was not able to attend but my daughter, Mate', dropped by and extended our family's love and wishes. Mayoc is and has always been a good family friend and we are all hoping he will be up and about soon after he fully recovers.

Lastly, allow me to congratulate Mate' for finally finishing her education in a special program offered by CHED through LCC-Bacolod. We are so proud of you.*


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