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Senate committee won’t touch alleged poll fraud

The Senate electoral reform and people’s participation in the 16th Congress refused yesterday to undertake a probe on allegations that Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr. was cheated by as much as 300,000 votes and thus lost to Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo in the vice presidential race.

“All allegations of fraud in the election must be brought to the Comelec (Commission on Election), the permanent body with the permanent and year-long responsibility to audit the elections,’’ Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, committee chairman, said.

Pimentel was reacting to allegations of fraud by three whistleblowers that Marcos was electronically cheated of 300,000 votes that were distributed to other vice presidential elections, including Robredo, at a tally in Quezon province.

The official congressional canvassing showed Robredo won by more than 200,000 votes over Marcos, her closest rival.

The three whistleblowers were brought to the Senate building last Monday by Pastor “Boy’’ Saycon, secretary general of the Council on Philippine Affairs (COPA).

Saycon said that the May 9 national and local elections were pockmarked with fraud.

He maintained that even President-elect Rodrigo Duterte was robbed of 200,000 votes in the Quezon province tally.

He also estimated that Duterte won a total of 21 million votes countrywide, not 16 million based on the official congressional canvassing.

Since the whistleblowers have Saycon as their handler and patron, Pimentel strongly suggested that Saycon shoulder the expenses in developing their theories because their current theories are not clear.

Pimentel strongly suggested that the whistleblowers get a lawyer “for them to organize their story and (write down their) affidavits.’’

“The numbers do not add up. Let the number add first before they get my attention,’’ he said.

As the 16th Congress ends Monday, Pimentel said he does not know whether he would retain his committee or not.