MANILA – Despite some groups’ allegations of electoral fraud in the May 9 elections, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte said he is convinced that there was no cheating or other voting irregularities in the recent polls.
“Wala ako nakita, sa totoo lang, at hindi rin talaga ako papayag ng dayaan (To be honest, I did not see any cheating and I will not allow cheating),” Duterte said in a prerecorded Talk to the People aired on Thursday.
To dispel doubts, Duterte urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to investigate cheating allegations including the 2,000 vote counting machines (VCMs) that malfunctioned.
“Ito namang ano…may glitches o sabi nila na mga sira na hindi magbasa ng vote (On glitches or those saying there are malfunctioning machines that do not read votes), I hope that Comelec would also find time to investigate just to…well, disabuse the minds of those na may dayaan (who said that there was cheating),” he added.
The Comelec decided to discard the malfunctioned VCMs in future polls.
The VCMs, which were acquired from automated elections supplier Smartmatic Corp., have been used since the 2013 midterm polls.
On Tuesday, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said cheating allegations will be "hard to prove" with claims of a supposedly consistent 47 percent ratio between votes for the top two presidential bets.
He, however, said the Comelec could still check the election results in each province.
Duterte urged winners of the national and local positions to prioritize the nation and people.
“Sana yung manalo (Whoever wins), whoever would come out, you have my congratulations well in advance. I am hopeful that you will serve the Filipino people with all your heart and ability and prioritize the welfare of the general public above everything,” he said.
He also enjoined losing candidates to continue serving the people in their own capacities.
“To the candidates who have failed to secure seats, I thank you as well for your participation in this electoral process. You may not have won this time but I hope you will continue to serve our people in your capacity as leaders in your respective sectors and communities,” he added.
Duterte reiterated that it would be an honor to turn over the reins of power to his successor knowing that he did his best to serve the country and people.
“Once the will of the people has finally been made known and all the winners have been officially proclaimed, we will begin the important process of transition of power to our new set of leaders…I would feel patriotic if in the coming days, when I shall have to transfer the reins of government to the newly elected president,” he said.
He also invited the public to join him in rallying behind the newly elected leaders to continue the task of building a stronger and more progressive nation.
Duterte will step down as president on June 30. (PNA)