Should 2013 senatorial elections be invalidated?
The Supreme Court (SC) has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to answer in 10 days the petition seeking to invalidate the results of the 2013 senatorial elections due to alleged glitches in the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines.
The petitioners –Ricardo Penson, Hans Christian Señeres, Rizalito David, and Baldomero Falcone, all losing senatorial candidates – alleged that there was grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Comelec in proclaiming the winners since there were still questions on the remaining election returns.
They told the SC that the Comelec did not comply with the authentication of electronically transmitted election results and ignored the findings of “additional votes” and “loss of votes” of the technical evaluation committee (TEC).
“It appears from the findings of the TEC that there was automated ‘dagdag-bawas,’ resulting in the proclamation of ‘accidental’ senators, when it concluded that lines caused ‘additional votes for candidates even if there were not votes for the candidate’ and ‘loss of votes for candidates who received votes which were not counted because the line caused an over-vote,’” the petitioners said.
They also said the Comelec violated the constitutional provisions on transparency in matters of public concern for its failure to make public several documents like the results of the canvass with a breakdown per region, random manual audit, and technical report.
“There is evident lack of transparency when the public respondent (Comelec) did not make public information that are intimately related to a determination of the validity of the canvass it conducted,” they said.
The Comelec had proclaimed Grace Poe Llamanzares, Loren Legarda, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Nancy Binay, Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Aquilino Pimentel III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Cynthia Villar, JV Ejercito, and Gregorio Honasan winners in the 2013 senatorial elections. All of them have already assumed office.