President Rodrigo Duterte will leave it to the Commission on Elections and the Senate to probe the alleged fraud in the 2016 national elections, his spokesman said Wednesday.
“The President has allowed the Comelec to investigate and we’ll see from there if there are indeed election violations that took place,” Harry Roque told reporters in Palawan.
“I hope the Comelec will investigate this and the Senate can also conduct its own investigation.”
Roque made his statement even as Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday appealed to Malacañang to fill the three vacancies in the Commission on Elections to ensure smooth preparations for the May 14 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections.
“The barangay elections have been postponed several times, and our office have been receiving doubts that the barangay election will push through with the vacancies in the Comelec,” Binay said.
Roque made this statement after Senator Vicente Sotto III on Tuesday urged the Senate to conduct a probe into the country’s automated election system.
In a privilege speech, Sotto said a “concerned and impeccably reliable source” handed him confidential information regarding the irregularities that took place in May 2016 that allegedly altered the results.
“If we don’t do anything to clear the doubts as to the legitimacy of the previous election, then we put at risk the accuracy of the 2019 elections,” Sotto said.
He asked the Senate to subpoena the Comelec and automated election provider Smartmatic to shed light on the issue.
Roque, however, said he would ask Duterte if he intended to ask the investigative branches of the government to conduct their own investigations into the issue.
”Let’s just let them investigate and we’ll see if the President will order the investigative branches of the government to conduct their own probes,)” Roque said.
“But at present it is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the law department of the Comelec to conduct a preliminary investigation.”
Previously, the camp of losing vice presidential candidate and former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the fraud in the counting of the votes allowed his rival Leni Robredo to win the vice presidency.
Former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman and now Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino also cried fraud against former Justice secretary and now detained Senator Leila de Lima.
Tolentino placed 13th in the senatorial race behind De Lima. With Macon Ramos-Araneta