SENATORIAL candidate Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez yesterday strongly urged the Commission on Elections to protect the sanctity of the ballot as he asked the poll body to explain the alleged crediting of his votes to another aspirant for the Senate.
Romualdez said the Comelec and Smartmatic-Total Information Management (TIM) Corp. should explain to him and the public the alleged discrepancies between actual votes on the ballot and the printed voters’ receipts during the Overseas Absentee Voting (OAV).
According to reports reaching him, Romualdez said, his overseas Filipino workers’ votes in Hong Kong were counted in favor of his good friend and fellow senatorial candidate Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares.
“The Comelec and Smartmatic should explain this reported incident because this may happen again in other parts of the world under the absentee voting and even on the May 9 elections in many parts of the country,” Romualdez pointed out after reports said the receipts printed by the voting machines had Colmenares’ name instead of his.
The House opposition leader said even Neri will protest the reported discrepancies in the printing of voters’ receipts.
He underscored the need for the poll body and Smartmatic to guarantee the integrity of the elections as part of its mandate in safeguarding the country’s democratic processes.
“We have to ensure that the coming presidential polls are not only credible but also reflective of the true will of the people,” Romualdez stressed. “They should provide sufficient election security at all times.”
Romualdez also cited the importance of public vigilance in protecting the votes in May 9 elections.
“The people again should embark on active involvement so that we can help minimize, if not totally eliminate, opportunities of fraud,” said Romualdez.
“We have to ensure that all rules and regulations and existing election laws are strictly followed especially in the timely and accurate counting and transmission of votes,” Romualdez explained.
Like Romualdez, vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. also asked the Comelec and Smartmatic to look into reports that votes intended for him in absentee voting in Hong Kong, Dubai, Kuwait and Okinawa were counted for Sen. Gregorio Honasan.
Romualdez and Marcos said the Comelec and Smartmatic must give an assurance that this will not happen again.