BASED on overall statistics, the Philippines held “one of the cleanest and safest elections” in its history on Monday, which saw the landslide victory of Rodrigo ‘Rody’ Duterte, a candidate known for his blunt speech and tendency to make controversial statements, earning him comparisons to U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump.
As for the vice presidency, in the third day of the unofficial tally, Camarines Sur representative Leni Robredo is still in the lead, ahead of Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr, though the votes are still fairly close, with only a difference of some 200,000 votes.
After polling stations were closed at 5pm on Monday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) chair Andres Bautista told the press that the 2016 elections generally “went smoothly” compared to previous years.
According to the commission, this year’s polls outperformed the elections conducted in 2010 and 2013, based on complaints of malfunctioning Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and actions taken by Comelec.
“As of 4pm, 2,363 precincts reported about problematic VCMs, but most of these issues had been addressed,” he said.
Bautista added that the voter turnout for this election was 84 percent – seven percent higher compared to the previous elections in 2013 and 2010.
Several areas, however, had failed to conduct polls due to issues with official ballots and safety concerns.
Failure of election was declared in 52 precincts with 17,657 affected voters in Cebu, Sarangani, Marinduque, Antique, Samar, Lanao del Sur, and Sulu.
Comelec said it is set to hold special polls in these areas this Saturday, with around 15,000 to 18,000 registered voters expected to cast their votes in those areas.
According to statistics, this was one of the cleanest and safest elections in Philippine history.
The National Citizen’s Movement for Free Elections (Namfrel) said on Wednesday that the 2016 elections ran peacefully and in an orderly manner despite some glitches.
Its secretary-general Eric Alvia said the conduct of the automated elections this year improved compared to the past two elections.
However, elections watchdog Automated Election System (AES) Watch did not share the same opinion: it issued a statement on Wednesday, criticizing Comelec for running the national and local elections on a “test run” mode.
“Comelec had all three years to prepare for the last election so that to reason that it had limited time to conduct the exercise is unacceptable. The poll body’s announcement weeks before the election that it was 100 percent ready was deceptive,” it said.
Among its complaints were: voting delays at polling precincts, malfunctioning VCMs, and glitches in the transmission of election results, as the Boards of Election Inspectors were not properly trained.
Another poll watch group, Kontra Daya, claims that its volunteers nationwide recorded over 600 complaints and lodged 280 cases of problematic VCMs.
Its convenor, Danilo Arao, said: “The reports gathered by Kontra Daya regarding the conduct of May 9 elections is that majority of the report have to do with the malfunctions and errors in the VCMs.”
“Aside from the VCM problems, we also noticed that the old style of cheating in the form of guns goons and gold, vote buying, military and police presence, we’ve seen such occurrences nationwide,” he said.
The group recorded some 54 cases of harassment and 60 cases of illegal campaigning in some areas.
On a lighthearted note, a local pastry chef from a bakeshop in Quezon City had to eat humble pie after he promised to give away 5 million pesos’ worth of cakes if Duterte won the presidency.
In November last year, Jack Labang expressed his disdain for Duterte on Facebook, calling the Davao City mayor a “liar” when he officially announced his presidential candidacy after previously saying that he would not, reported Rappler.
Now that Duterte has won the presidency, netizens are reminding Labang of his earlier promise, though he has since taken the post down.
Labang said he intends to fulfill his promise by holding cake samplings on a first come, first serve basis every month, but he could not help but include a jab at Duterte: