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3 million votes missing?

Some people say that our next Vice President Leni Robredo may not be able to assume her post due to the failure of the Liberal Party (LP) to submit its Statement of Contributions and Expenditures (SoCE).

Section 14 of Republic Act No. 7166 or the Synchronized Election Act of 1991 states that failure of the political party, which nominated the winning candidate, to file the SoCE could bar the latter from assuming office.

Firing Line believes Robredo and the rest of the LP can hurdle past this problem and may only be fined at the most.

Perhaps, a bigger problem lies in the electoral protest to be filed against her on June 28 by her political nemesis, Senator Bongbong Marcos, who has accused the Aquino administration of cheating. This is slowly gaining public attention.

Marcos believes that the supposed cheating was “shamelessly” carried out and some three million votes were shaved off his tally. He lost by 260,000 votes to the outgoing Camarines Sur representative.

He also accused the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic, who provided the vote-counting machines used in the elections, of conniving with the Aquino administration in order to defeat him.

Marcos said there were places where all the vice presidential candidates got zero vote, except for Robredo.

For his part, Bongbong received no vote in the municipalities of Sibagat and Veruela in Agusan del Sur; Akbar, Lantawan, Sumisip, Tabuan-lasa municipalities and cities of Isabela and Lamitan in Basilan; Baao, Bato, Calabanga, Caramoan, Lupi and Milaor, Camarines Sur; General McArthur and Maslog, Eastern Samar; Calinog, Iloilo; Bacolod, Pantao and Ragat, Lanao del Norte; Bacolod-Kalawi, Bayang, Buadiposo-Buntong, Bumbaran and Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Some members of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) are allegedly complaining that their votes were not counted. They fear getting kicked out of the church since INC, that had endorsed Marcos, was known for its bloc voting.

Marcos will need a lot of evidence and witnesses to prove his claim in this country where electoral protests take longer to resolve, sometimes almost until the end of the term being contested.

It will certainly be a first if it can be proved that there was indeed cheating and the administration was behind it. But how far can he dig to know who to pin the irregularity on?

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at http://www.tempo.com.ph/category/opinion/firing-line/ (Robert B. Roque, Jr.)

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