Did hocus-PCOS do this in your town in 2022?

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

STO. TOMAS, Batangas – This town of 30 barangays had only 153 precincts in Election 2022. Yet four candidates for mayor got identical votes in many precincts. In others, the three “losers” got 1, 2 or 3 additional or fewer votes.

Statistically impossible, say mathematicians, election experts and info technologists. More so since the losers, all long-time electees, fell even in their bailiwick villages. Comelec proclaimed as landslide mayor someone who has never before won election.

The three losers – Armenius Silva, Fausto Manzanilla, Timothy Almeda – protested a week after Election Day. Yet Comelec for nearly two years has been sitting on their petition for manual ballot recount. The poll body frequently brags that the 2022 voting was the cleanest ever, but seems uninclined to prove it.

Hocus-PCOS came to play in Sto. Tomas. PCOS, or precinct count optical scanner, is the automated system that Comelec used in Elections 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and 2022. Venezuelan supplier Smartmatic earned P25 billion in all, P3.12 billion in 2022 alone.

Fraudulent results arose from a series of events and factors, Silva, Manzanilla and Almeda told Sapol-dwIZ. Thinking Filipinos might find parallels in reviewing their own locales: 2022electionresults.comelec.gov.ph. Consider:

(1) Arth Marasigan is a political tyro. Appointed city administrator in 2018, he ran but lost against the incumbent mayor in 2019. He took a break from politics for three years. In 2022 Comelec proclaimed him mayor. Total votes: 46,929 out of 93,309 ballots cast.

(2) Silva was incumbent vice mayor in 2022. Since 1998 he has been elected twice as councilor and five times as vice mayor. “I’ve helped citizens rise as Sto. Tomas transformed from Class B to Class A municipality then into a city,” he said. Yet he lost to Marasigan by 25,188 votes.

He even flunked in all precincts in his childhood and present home – Barangays IV and Santa Clara. “It’s impossible that my parents, offspring, siblings, neighbors and friends junked me:”

• Brgy. IV Precinct 10280022: Silva, 236; Marasigan, 271;

• Brgy. IV Precinct 10280023: Silva, 243; Marasigan, 277;

• Brgy. IV Precinct 10280024: Silva, 241; Marasigan, 267.

Total: Silva, 720; Marasigan, 815.

• Sta. Clara Precinct 10280130: Silva, 149; Marasigan, 441;

• Sta. Clara Precinct 10280131: Silva, 149; Marasigan, 480;

• Sta. Clara Precinct 10280132: Silva, 164; Marasigan, 429;

• Sta. Clara Precinct 10280133: Silva, 135; Marasigan, 384;

• Sta. Clara Precinct 10280134: Silva, 112; Marasigan, 292.

Total: Silva, 709; Marasigan, 2,026.

Note: Silva got exactly 149 votes each in two consecutive precincts. In two others he got only 2 votes difference, 241 and 243.

(3) Manzanilla was an incumbent councilor. Hailing from a big old family, the retired general has kinsfolk in all barangays. Yet he barely made it in his home – Barangay San Miguel:

• Precinct 10280061: Manzanilla, 214; Marasigan, 243;

• Precinct 10280062: Manzanilla, 222; Marasigan, 225;

• Precinct 10280063: Manzanilla, 258; Marasigan, 239;

• Precinct 10280064: Manzanilla, 261; Marasigan, 213;

• Precinct 10280065: Manzanilla, 242; Marasigan, 239;

• Precinct 10280066: Manzanilla, 252; Marasigan, 241;

• Precinct 10280067: Manzanilla, 249; Marasigan, 239;

• Precinct 10280068: Manzanilla, 231; Marasigan, 239;

• Precinct 10280069: Manzanilla, 358; Marasigan, 179;

• Precinct 10280070: Manzanilla, 362; Marasigan, 191;

• Precinct 10280071: Manzanilla, 315; Marasigan, 185.

Total: Manzanilla, 2,964; Marasigan, 2,433.

Note: Marasigan got exactly 239 votes in four precincts, two of them consecutive. And difference of only +2 or 241 votes in one precinct, and +4 or 243 votes in another.

(4) Almeda was also an incumbent councilor. His family donated the land for their San Bartolome barangay hall, along with several village roads. The family has businesses there, and employs neighbors. Yet he lost in all precincts there:

• Precinct 10280025; Almeda, 122; Marasigan, 325;

• Precinct 10280026; Almeda, 126; Marasigan, 326;

• Precinct 10280027; Almeda, 127; Marasigan, 326;

• Precinct 10280028; Almeda, 168; Marasigan, 303;

• Precinct 10280029; Almeda, 83; Marasigan, 266;

• Precinct 10280030; Almeda, 135; Marasigan, 335;

• Precinct 10280031; Almeda, 89; Marasigan, 251.

Total: Almeda, 850; Marasigan, 2,132.

Note: Almeda got almost the same number of votes, 126 and 127, in two consecutive precincts. Marasigan got exactly 326 votes each in two consecutive precincts; and one less, 325 votes, in a third consecutive precinct.

(5) Spread across all 30 barangays, Silva got 35 identical votes in 88 precincts.

Manzanilla got 34 identical votes in 87 precincts.

Almeda got 40 identical votes in 109 precincts.

Marasigan got 36 identical votes in 84 precincts.

“It looked like somebody made a spreadsheet and assigned numbers to it,” Almeda remarked. (See 3 photos in philstar.com and Facebook versions of Gotcha)

(6) Merely all precinct results came from private IP address Former information-communications technology secretary Eliseo Rio has denounced that Internet Protocol address as a “man-in-the-middle” or fraudulent manipulator.

Comelec Chairman George Garcia claimed that the IP address came from Globe, one of three telcos that transmitted precinct results to Comelec’s central server on Election Day. Globe denied it.

(7) Total votes for mayor was 85 percent of Sto. Tomas’ 110,000 voters. About 4,000 ballots were spoiled and thus unread by the PCOS, or 3.64 percent of voters. Adding up the two equals Sto. Tomas’ 88.64-percent voter turnout – way above the national average of 82.6 percent.

“It’s as if none of our voters died in the pandemic, and none were weary of crowd contagion and heat in the precincts,” Almeda said. “Perhaps there were precincts in the cemetery.”

Sto. Tomas’ turnout could even be higher if Marasigan’s reply to the protest is considered. He claimed that his rivals barred his supporters from casting ballots.

(8) Right after filing of candidacies in Oct. 2021, a local radio station came out with a mayoralty survey. For seven months the survey percentages were rebroadcast with Marasigan in far lead, followed by Silva, Manzanilla and Almeda.

“The frequent airing seemed to condition voters’ minds,” Manzanilla said. “The [PCOS] count in May 2022 mirror the survey.”

(9) Almeda ran with no ticket, but drew in 45,000 townsfolk to his miting de avance. He carried presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos who got 55,000 Sto. Tomas votes. Almeda got only 9,481.

Marasigan supported Isko Moreno, who got 4,000 Sto. Tomas votes. Marasigan garnered 46,929.

(10) In the party-list voting, a Batangas party was trounced by another from faraway Bulacan.

(11) Comelec initially dismissed the Silva-Manzanilla-Almeda petition. It reasoned that its rules allow only the first two “losers” to protest. The three moved for reconsideration, citing the Omnibus Election Code that allows any candidate to protest.

Implementing rules cannot supersede the law. Besides, how can Comelec determine who really is 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place without a recount.

(12) To debunk Rio, Comelec had agreed in November 2023 to recount presidential votes in one precinct each of his choice in 17 regions. Comelec said it would bankroll the huge cost.

Rio proposed instead to recount presidential votes in 30 Sto. Tomas precincts, much closer to Comelec’s head office. That will not cost Comelec a single centavo because the three mayoralty protesters will spend for the recount. Now, Comelec alibis that it cannot recount presidential votes because of the mayoralty protest. Duh.

*      *      *

Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., dwIZ (882-AM).

Follow me on Facebook: https://tinyurl.com/Jarius-Bondoc


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