Demands immediate and independent investigation
Charmaine Janis Rodriguez
A group of migrant and overseas Filipinos in the US and Canada declared last Wednesday, in a manifesto, that they are rejecting Marcos and Duterte as the president-elect and vice president-elect, respectively, of the Philippines.
“We believe that their presumptive victory in the recently conducted elections is based on lies, disinformation and fraud. We reject Marcos and Duterte for they represent tyranny and the worst of traditional and dynastic politics in the Philippines,” read the manifesto, which was signed by close to 200 members as of yesterday, May 18, 2022.
“We hold dear to our hearts the values of transparency, honesty, freedom and democracy for our compatriots in the Philippines. Many people have been awakened by the campaign led by VP Leni Robredo and Sen. Kiko Pangilinan. Ang namulat hindi na muling pipikit (The awakened will no longer slumber). The struggle goes beyond elections. We shall fight back to restore democracy in our motherland,” the statement also read.
They also demanded that an “immediate and independent investigation of the massive irregularities and electoral violations that have cast doubt in the credibility of the elections.”
They also issued a seven-point Call to Action which asked, among other things, that the governments of US and Canada to “suspend provision of all security assistance to the Philippine until the human rights situation has improved and human rights violators are investigated and held accountable.”
“We cannot allow our taxes to be used to kill our own countrymen,” said Loida Lewis of US Filipinos for Good Governance in a press conference via Zoom after the manifesto was issued.
The group said that the Filipinos who voted last May 9 deserve to know the real results of the Philippine elections.
“We are alarmed at the reported massive vote buying and defective Vote Counting Machines (VCM). We believe these produced a statistically impossible identical ratio in all regions of the country producing a huge lead of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over VP Leni Robredo. In the US, delayed and damaged ballots, late and lack of information dissemination, and over 13,000 ballots returned to sender (RTS) disenfranchised many overseas registered voters,” the manifesto added.
“Lastly, we call into question the unbelievably rapid publicizing of election results from the COMELEC transparency servers. This makes us believe that the machines were pre-programmed to manufacture results favorable to Marcos Jr. and Duterte,” it also read.
They also called on the opposition not to concede.
Asked what the group will do if Robredo will choose to concede, Ago Pedalizo of the Filipino American Human Rights Alliance said the group will pursue their calls to action with or without Robredo.
“This is a movement. If Leni will join us, (that will be) good. She doesn’t have to,” he told the media.
“We can’t bow down to questionable electoral results, much less dance with dictators and criminals like Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte, whose fathers, on the record, plundered billions and killed thousands of innocent lives,” the manifesto reads.
The group also expressed their “disagreement and extreme disappointment” over the congratulatory statement of US President Joseph Biden to Marcos which they said was “premature and is preemptive of the ongoing verification of election results.”
“We call on the U.S. government to employ targeted sanctions via the Magnitsky Act against human rights violations in the Philippines, including but not limited to Rodrigo Duterte, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and others,” the group said.
They also asked the U.S. government to uphold the $353M contempt order against Marcos Jr.
The other calls to action include:
- We call on the Philippine Government for the immediate and unconditional release of jailed Senator Leila de Lima following the recantation of the testimonies of three key witnesses.
- We call on the Philippine Government to pursue the case against Duterte crony Dennis Uy’s illegal purchase of the Malampaya Gas Field, which has net income of $1M a day and provides one fifth of the energy needs of the country, and give the right of first refusal to the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC).
- We call on the Filipino people to remain steadfast and vigilant against attempts to trample on our democratic, constitutional and human rights.
They also asked the Philippine Government to allow the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) and the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL) to collate, encode and canvass their physical copies of the election results (ER) without threat or any level of impediments, without COMELEC’s choice of which precincts and ERs to audit and for both poll watchdogs to be given ample time to independently perform their function and produce authentic results.
“No matter the result of the independent investigation, as Filipinos and peace-loving global citizens, we still hold the Marcos family including Marcos Jr. accountable for the $10 billion plunder, the Php 203 billion cumulative unpaid estate taxes, unpaid income taxes, and massive torture, disappearances and political imprisonment during Martial Law. We also hold Duterte accountable for his crimes against humanity with the 35,000 extrajudicial killings of innocent lives. Indeed, we bear witness to the most notorious combination of these oligarchs in Philippine history,” the group also said.
“We are grieving but we shall not concede. We shall go back to the communities that we had initial encounters to continue the conversations on poverty, corruption, and people’s empowerment. The poor majority have always been the victims of traditional politicians. But they have the power to liberate themselves as well,” the group’s statement added.