CBCP urges Comelec to delay proclamation of winners for national positions

MANILA, Philippines — Proclamation of winners in the national level should be deferred pending a probe into the alleged manipulation of votes during the elections.

This was the call of Father Edwin Gariguez, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) National Secretariat for Social Action.

Gariguez noted that he is not accusing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic of cheating, but he is hoping the said agencies will explain what happened during the seven-hour glitch in the transparent server Monday night.

“Ang aming kahilingan ay seryosohin yung allegation. Actually hindi naman natin sinasabi direkta na may dayaan, merong allegations of fraud and manipulation (Our request is to take the allegations seriously. We are not saying directly that there is cheating. There were allegations of fraud and manipulation),” Gariguez said in a statement posted on the Veritas 846 website.

“So what we are requesting or demanding to do is to suspend the proclamation until these allegations have been validated or disproved,” he added.

Gariguez called on the Comelec and Smartmatic to create an independent body that will conduct an impartial investigation regarding the issue.

According to the Church official, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) could do the job

In an earlier interview with reporters, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said the poll body is open to a “technical audit” to prove that no cheating or manipulation happened when the transparency server stopped sending election results on Monday.

“I want to assure the public that we are open to inquiries or technical audit,” Guanzon said. “Ako (Me) and Commissioner (Luie Tito) Guia prefer an independent body to do this.”

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CBCP urges Comelec to delay proclamation of winners for national positions