Gadon: I'm victim of vote-shaving

Gadon: I'm victim of vote-shaving

MANILA, Philippines — Independent senatorial candidate Larry Gadon on Tuesday cried foul over the allegedly rigged results of Monday’s midterm elections, claiming his votes were shaved to push administration allies in the winning circle.

Gadon conceded defeat in the senatorial race, but he alleged that election results were “clearly” manipulated to favor administration candidates. He did not cite any evidence.

“It is very clear that cheating was rampant,” he said in a statement. “A lot of what happened in canvassing does not make sense. The vote-padding and shaving in this elections were worse than in 2016 because it is so shameless to the core.”

Based on the unofficial quick count of the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) as of Tuesday, Gadon ranked 28th in the senatorial race with at least 3.3 million votes.

He would need more than 10 million votes to catch up at least with reelectionist Sen. Nancy Binay’s, who placed 12th.

Bongbong Marcos endorsement

Among the administration candidates who broke into the quick count’s top 12 was former Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, whose brother Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. endorsed Gadon.

Gadon wondered how the Commission on Elections (Comelec) managed to canvass less than half of 1 percent of the total votes by Monday night only to suspend it and announce its resumption at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.

“Comelec sent away the candidates’ lawyers and their representatives. But at 1:19 a.m. on Tuesday dawn, counting continued. By 3 a.m., it is finished,” he said in an online interview with House reporters.

Gadon claimed the count was nearly completed in an hour and 41 minutes because the storage cards had been “preprogrammed by Smartmatic to shave his votes.” There was no immediate comment from the Comelec or Smartmatic.

The PPCRV is conducting an unofficial count parallel to Comelec’s canvassing, which began only on Tuesday afternoon.

Warm reception

Gadon also expressed surprise at the number of votes he had garnered, saying it did not reflect his popularity as shown by his “warm reception” in out-of-town rallies as well as on social media.

“During the Salubungan of the El Shaddai, the crowd went wild as people wanted to take selfies with Larry Gadon, ignoring other senatorial bets who were also onstage, a few feet away. No one wanted to take photos with them, which showed that the interest of people is in Larry Gadon,” he said.

Gadon recalled garnering 2 million votes in his failed first crack at the Senate in 2016 when he was not yet that popular and had not waged a full-blown campaign.

“Now in 2019, I am now more popular, and often mobbed by people wherever I go,” he said. “It is really impossible that I got only 3 million votes. My votes were shaved off and added to administration candidates whom I have been beating in social media and mock election surveys.”

Gadon made headlines in January when he asked the Comelec to bar polling firms Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations from releasing surveys, lest they become “political propagandists.”

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here