Palace welcomes Comelec move to probe poll fraud

MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday welcomed the decision of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate the alleged poll fraud in the 2016 national elections.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the statement after the Comelec announced that it would look into the confidential information handed to Senator Vicente Sotto III from a concerned and impeccably reliable source.

Sotto first bared these alleged irregularities in a privilege speech and called for a Senate investigation.

Nagagalak naman po ako na tinanggap ng Comelec ang hamon, iimbestigahan daw nila itong mga bagong impormasyon na nilathala ni Senator Sotto sa Senado (We are pleased that Comelec has accepted the challenge to investigate these new information published by Senator Sotto in the Senate), Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Roque said President Rodrigo R. Duterte would not allow another election fraud as long as he is in office.

Ang sabi naman ng Pangulo habang siya ay Presidente hindi niya papayagan ang dayaan sa eleksiyon (The President said that while he is President, he will not allow another election fraud), he said.

Roque pointed out that it was necessary to find out the truth because Comelec will still be tapping automated election provider Smartmatic for the next elections.

Importante po ito dahil Smartmatic pa rin ang kinontra ng Comelec para magbigay na o mag-provide ng automated election services sa susunod na namang halalan (This is important because Comelec has also tapped Smartmatic to provide automated election services for the next elections), Roque said.

Roque, meanwhile, denied reports that even the President himself benefited from the alleged poll fraud saying his avid supporters even think he got much more than 16 million votes.

If you are have to ask some of the die-hard supporters of the President in the last election, they feel that they got more votes. So it is not as if they benefited, they lost votes according to his supporters. But the President is happy with his almost six million edge over his closest political rival, Roque said, referring to former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Mar Roxas II.

He also said that Duterte will be appointing two commissioners and there will be a third vacancy.

Last month, commissioners Christian Lim and Arthur Lim stepped down from the poll body.

So the President would have appointed three commissioners before the conduct of the next elections and it's a different Comelec altogether, Roque said.

Source: Philippine News Agency