The allegations of ill-gotten wealth against Commission on Elections chairman Andres Bautista should not cast any doubt on the credibility and integrity of the 2016 elections, an election lawyer said on Thursday.
According to Attorney Romulo Macalintal, the allegations Bautista’s estranged wife Patricia presented before the media included no evidence that the election official “compromised the results of the said elections.”
“Patricia never mentioned any alleged “commission” or “referral fees” received by Bautista for purposes of cheating or rigging the said elections in favor of any candidate,” Macalintal said in a statement.
“There is a big difference between commissions received to favor a bidder and commissions received to cheat the elections,” he added.
Bautista allegedly received commissions from a lawyer whose law firm was contracted by a government agency.
Macalintal is the election lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo but he didn’t say whether or not he issued the statement in his capacity as counsel of the official.
Robredo is the subject of the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who she narrowly defeated in the last elections.
Marcos’ camp has used controversy facing the Comelec chairman to question the election results.
“Ito nga ho, meron nang mga lumalabas na, apparently, based on the affidavit, tumatanggap ng commission kung kanino. That speaks volumes on the integrity of the 2016 elections as far as we’re concerned,” lawyer Vic Rodriguez said in an Unang Balita interview.
“It should be noted that the automated election system (AES) used in the 2016 elections was the same system used in the 2010 and 2013 elections wherein all election protests filed were dismissed for failure to prove any discrepancy between the results of the election generated by the PCOS machines and the physical count of said ballots,” Macalintal said.
“The same is true in the case of the 2016 elections wherein almost all the election protests involving local candidates did not show any sign of irregularity or tampering of the results,” he added.
Macalintal said Bautista alone, or even the entire officials of the Comelec, could not “rig or manipulate the AES to favor a particular candidate or political party.”
“It may need the conspiracy of other stakeholders like the Central Bank being the official depository of the AES Source Code; the Comelec Regional Directors and Provincial Election Supervisors, Smartmatic and other people involved in the operation of the AES,” Macalintal said.
“And this certainly is impossible to happen; and did not happen in the 2010, 2013 and 2016 polls wherein not an iota of evidence had been presented to destroy their integrity and credibility,” he added. —NB, GMA News