“That is, if she, Atty. Radam, would issue an affidavit confirming such statement or if she grants an interview to media saying the same things against me,” Pimentel told radio station DXND here.
Radam, in a press statement dated June 5, denied having rigged the votes of Pimentel in favor of another senatorial candidate from Team Unity and instead turned the table against him by saying she has proof that his men have offered her ‘financial considerations’ in exchange for assurance that he will land on the Magic 12 in South Cotabato.
Radam, in a statement, said Pimentel’s accusations of dagdag–bawas (vote padding/vote shaving) has destroyed her person, her office, and the whole electoral process in South Cotabato.
“Submitting spurious and questionable results would be of no benefit to us. It could only be beneficial to a candidate who is losing but who could gain victory if a cloud of doubt hovered over the electoral process and its results,” she explained in her statement.
Pimentel told DXND he doubted Radam’s statement saying that the election officer might be using “squid tactics” to divert peoples’ attention from the real issue.
The issue here, he said, is that, “Radam is facing 12 counts of electoral sabotage because of the dagdag-bawas of votes in her province.”
He also warned the radio station that it might get into trouble “once Radam issues a statement denying such press release.”
“What happens here is that, we’re just dignifying a statement, which she (Radam) might disown later,” stressed Pimentel.
But Radam, who was able to listen to Pimentel’s interview over DXND, claimed the statement was not a fake and that it really came from her.
“I heard the interview of Koko Pimentel. The statement was mine,” she told a reporter of radio station DXND.
Radam’s younger brother, Leo, handed the statement to radio station DXND on June 9 and was read on the air that day. Leo was a former reporter of DXND who now works at the North Cotabato provincial government.
Days before Radam issued the statement, she called up DXND and said she will grant the radio station an interview “in due time.”
Pimentel’s accusations prompted the Commission on Elections to suspend the tabulation of the results from North Cotabato and South Cotabato in the ongoing national canvassing of votes.
Pimentel alleged that the administration’s “special operators” had tried to rig the results of the senatorial contest in South and North Cotabato in a bid to dislodge him from the winning column.
Pimentel said the “dagdag–bawas” operators in the two provinces tampered with the results to inflate the votes for Team Unity candidate Juan Miguel Zubiri by about 230,000.
As of Saturday, the lawyer from Cagayan de Oro City was hanging on to the 12th spot.
In a press statement Sunday, Pimentel said Comelec cannot declare a failure of elections and call a special election in Maguindanao.
He said the Genuine Opposition will question the holding of the special election before the Supreme Court if Comelec takes that course of action which violates the Omnibus Election Code.
“If no election was held in Maguindanao, why were winning candidates for local positions proclaimed by the provincial board of canvassers (PBCs) and municipal boards of canvassers (MPCs), including Congressman-elect Simeon Datumanong, Governor-elect Andal Ampatuan, 22 mayors, several provincial board members and hundreds of municipal councilors?” he asked.
Pimentel said what the Comelec, acting as National Board of Canvassers, should do is exclude the provincial certificate of canvass (COCs) of Maguindanao from the national tabulation of senatorial votes for being unsupported by source documents, like the municipal COCs, and for having data such as the zero votes obtained by 19 senatorial candidates mostly from the opposition that are statistically improbable.
The Comelec may then proceed, he said, with proclaiming the 12th winning senatorial candidate. The candidate who would be affected by the proclamation, he said, could then file an election protest with the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
Fellow Mindanawon, Juan Miguel Zubiri of Team Unity, is presently on the 13th place less about a hundred thousand votes from Pimentel's.
Maguindanao has 212,795 registered voters. (Malu C. Manar/MindaNews)