Despite some groups’ allegations of electoral fraud, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is convinced there was no cheating or other voting irregularities in the May 9 polls.
“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.
“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 who said that there was cheating,” he added.
The Comelec decided to discard the malfunctioned VCMs for future polls.
The machines, which were acquired from automated elections supplier Smartmatic Corp., have been used since the 2013 midterm polls.
Duterte also urged winners of the national and local positions to prioritize the nation and people.
“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.
The President 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 yourrespective sectors and communities,” he added.
Duterte reiterated 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.
The Chief Executive 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.
The Comelec said that vote count was accurate despite VCM issues while the church based poll watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) also vouched for the accuracy of the voting results.
The President described the recent election as “successful” and “generally peaceful,” as he thanked the Comelec for the swift transmission of election results.
Duterte likewise thanked the teachers, military and police, the civil society sector, and thousands of volunteers for their participation in this year’s election.
“I thank and congratulate the Filipino people. You made the elections successful because you have made your will known by performing your sacred right and duty to vote,” he added.
Duterte also expressed hope that the next president would serve the Filipino people with “all his heart.”
“To the winning candidate, whoever will 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,” Duterte said.
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.
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