Makabayan senatorial bet Neri Colmenares said he will not concede defeat in the face of massive fraud in Monday’s national polls.
Citing “brazen” illegal partisan activities by the police and military against Makabayan’s national and local bets, Colmenares said he remains undefeated by the elections that are “not normal.”
“How can I concede to a rotten electoral exercise that has basically deceived, bribed, intimidated and manipulated our people into electing the worst kinds of leaders imaginable? I cannot,” he said.
“It would have been easy to concede had I lost in a fair and honest elections. But this year’s elections were hardly fair or honest. Besides, this is no longer about me but about giving our people a fair chance to exercise their constitutional right to suffrage,” Colmenares explained.
The former Bayan Muna representative, who has remained at the 24th spot since the start of the canvassing, accused Rodrigo Duterte government of unleashing intensified, tokhang-style police and military operations in Bicol, Eastern and Western Visayas that are known progressive bailiwicks meant to prevent Makabayan supporters from voting.
Northern Dispatch also reported that Makabayan supporters received death threats to dissuade them from campaigning and voting in Cagayan Valley.
In addition to Mindanao still languishing under Martial Law, the massive human rights abuses also resulted in at least two massacres and a state of terror in communities during the campaing period, Colmenares said.
The activist candidate also said the Philippine National Police were caught red-handed distributing black propaganda materials against Makabayan in various polling centers in Metro Manila on election day.
‘Duterte as first violator’
Colmenares said it was President Duterte who led in the violation of various election laws.
“We saw how the President, using his presidential platform, led the vilification of the opposition and progressive candidates, dishing out insults and lies at every opportunity. This year, honesty as a qualification for public office was openly thrown out the window. And vote buying was justified by the highest official of the land,” Colmenares said.
He added that Duterte and his allies threatened and intimidated local politicians into supporting their candidates and denying the opposition and progressive candidates the opportunity to campaign at the grassroots.
“I have never seen so fearful a set of local politicians than now,” he revealed.
Colmenares also cited how the Duterte administration used government resources, funds and facilities to promote pro-Administration candidates, especially those favored by the President.
Widespread violations by administration candidates
Colmenares said pro-administration parties and candidates openly broke election rules that should not have been allowed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec)
“We saw how the rules – from postering and other campaign activities to widespread vote buying – were being flouted with impunity up to election day, and the Comelec blind or helpless about it,” Colmenares said.
He said he saw how candidates were already campaigning, spending hundreds of millions on TV and radio advertisments prior to campaign period.
“But that was nothing compared to the deluge of ads during the campaign period, skirting whatever limits we’re supposed to have on campaign spending and advertising,” Colmenares said.
There were unprecedented failures in the vote counting machines and SD cards used to run those machines on election day itself, Colmenares said.
He also cited the withholding of transmitted results from the public for seven hours Monday evening on “some flimsy technical glitch that had never happened in the past three automated elections.”
“Many of us slept and woke up to the TV screen showing 12 winning senators, not knowing what happened,” he revealed.
He also recalled that he filed resolutions to investigate election fraud in the automated election in his three terms in Congress as Bayan Muna representative.# (Raymund B. Villanueva)