PASAY CITY, Philippines – Questions remain unanswered on the alleged irregularities in the 2016 national elections during the Senate inquiry on Tuesday (July 31).
Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Electoral Reforms said they were “frustrated” with the explanations of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on the matter, especially the alleged transmission a day before the elections, supposedly “a quiet time.”
It was a concern earlier raised by Senate President Vicente Sotto III who claimed that a reliable source handed him confidential information regarding the activities that altered election results.
Based on the resolutions released by the Comelec, the final testing and sealing were conducted from May 2 to 6, but can be extended to May 9 if necessary. The transmission test was done on May 9, the day of elections.
But Sotto claimed that as early as May 8, there was already a transmission of data happening in Bicol areas.
Citing his source, it was done by an IP address which was of a clustered vote counting machine or precinct count optical scan (PCOS).
During the inquiry, Sotto asked the Comelec for the transmission logs from May 8 to May 9 but the poll body presented logs only on the day of the elections on May 9 and none on the day before.
Citing his source, whose legal counsel was Atty. Levito Baligod, Sotto believed such activity before the election day is highly irregular. Baligod affirmed the Senator’s claim.
“There was a queue server used which was unauthorized and which was malicious,” Baligod, the counsel of a witness to the early transmission, said.
Former Biliran representative Glenn Chong, one of the resource speakers in the hearing alleging election fraud, claimed otherwise.
“Wala pong May 8. There was no transaction what so ever in May 8,” he said.
During the hearing, Chong’s credibility was questioned as he was being linked to the 2016 Vice Presidential Candidate Bongbong Marcos.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon cited two letters from Marcos’ legal counsel Atty. George Garcia where Chong was named as one of the Marcos’ camp’s representatives. Chong denied the claim.
Because of this, the senators grew more puzzled over the content and origin of the early data transmissions.
The Senate committee asked the poll body to submit written explanations on the said issue subject to further study on the alleged 2016 poll fraud. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
Senate urges probe on P60M DOT ad placement controversy
Sen. Trillanes will file a plunder case against Tulfo siblings in relation to P60-M advertisement controversy.
PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III wants an investigation on the ad placement controversy between the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the state-run People’s Television Network (PTV4), particularly in the program hosted by Ben and Erwin Tulfo.
The Tulfo brothers are siblings of former Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo who later resigned amid allegations of corruption.
Sotto said he wants to check on the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee about the status of the resolution filed seeking to probe the alleged irregularities in the said P60 million advertisement deal and because the Tulfo brothers remain firm in refusing to refund the payment.
“I’ll talk to them. I’ll talk to the Chairman, and find out what’s brewing in the committee. There must be other reasons. That’s why the committee in Congress step in,” the Senate President said.
The issue started when the Commission on Audit (COA) questioned the P60 million released by DOT as placement fee to PTV’s program “Kilos Pronto” due to lack of necessary documents. An issue on conflict of interest followed because the deal was done under the administration of Teo, a sister of Ben and Erwin.
Meanwhile, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is brewing a complaint against the Tulfo brothers.
“Unang una, kaya nga ninakaw iyan dahil walang planong ibigay. So doon na lang iyan sa plunder case magkakaalaman,” Trillanes said.
Teo earlier defended her brothers saying they had no hand in the said placement deal. – Nel Maribojoc / Marje Pelayo
Senate staff to get P5,000 grocery, transpo allowance
PASAY CITY, Philippines – Senate President Vicente Sotto III approved on Monday (July 30) a P5,000 grocery and transportation allowance each for all Senate employees.
Sotto said the additional allowance aims to help Senate employees cope with the surge in prices of basic commodities.
“Ang mga members ng union ng mga empleyado sa Senado, hindi maiiwasan dahil sa pagtaas ng presyo, inflation, matagal na nilang hinihiling iyan,” said Sotto.
The additional allowance will be received by Senate employees beginning this month of July. – UNTV News & Rescue
Rep. Leni Robredo urged to run in 2016 vice presidential race
MANILA, Philippines – The “Kaya Natin” movement has launched a campaign yesterday which they called “Leni Robredo for vice president movement” in order to push Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo to the vice presidential race in the 2016 national elections.
According to former Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Erin Tañada III, also a member of the Liberal Party, they are preparing for the circumstances in case Sen. Grace Poe declines the offer to become the running mate of DILG Sec. Mar Roxas.
If in case Senator Poe agrees, they will convince Rep. Robredo to run in the senatorial race.
Tañada explained that there isn’t any conflict since vice president and senator are both national positions.
Likewise, the “Kaya Natin” movement believes that Rep. Robredo is capable of handling a national position and they are hoping that Robredo will acknowledge the clamor of supporters to run for higher office.
Robredo however said, she and her children are not ready for a higher position. She added that this has not yet been discussed within the Liberal Party either.
“My children are a bit stressed by the issue. But ultimately, I assured them that we will be the one to decide on this and not other people. I’m just on my second year as a public servant, and there are already talks of a VP position; that is not an easy thing. I don’t see myself fit for the job yet,” Robredo admitted.
On the other hand, presidential spokesperson Sec. Edwin Lacierda said, Malacañang has not yet taken Robredo into consideration as a running mate for Sec. Roxas since it is still waiting for the decision of Senator Grace Poe. (UNTV News)
Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo urged to run for vice president in 2016.