SC upholds winning senators in 2013 polls

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) upheld the winners of the 2013 senatorial elections after it junked a petition seeking to nullify the proclamations of the 12 senators.

In a 7-page ruling, the court dismissed the petition filed by political party Bangon Pilipinas, represented by Bishop Leonardo Alconga and in behalf of Brother Eddie Villanueva, who placed 19th among 33 candidates in the 2013 senatorial race.

In its petition, the group claimed that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) prematurely proclaimed the 12 winning candidates despite alleged discrepancies in the election results.

Bangon Pilipinas said the poll body "practically privatized the electoral process" and left it to the control and supervision of technology provider Smartmatic and Dominion.

In making the claims, the group pointed out the allegedly anomalous "60-30-10 pattern" reflected in the canvassed election returns. The supposed systematic cheating favored Team PNoy candidates with 60% of the votes, while 30% went to candidates of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance and 10% to independent candidates.

But regional vote results, as well as results from the National Capital Region and 8 key cities, disprove the alleged pattern.

Bangon Pilipinas wanted the SC to declare the senators' proclamations null and void, and to stop the use of the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines and Smartmatic's automated election system.

But the Supreme Court dismissed the petition, saying that the alleged privatization of the election process and questions on the PCOS machines have already been resolved.

The court added that it cannot issue an injunction "based on factual matters yet to be established and solely on legal arguments already debunked in past case precedents."

The High Court also said the group "should have pursued the proper remedy by filing an election protest.” – Katerina Francisco/