We, the undersigned overseas Filipinos and representatives of Filipino organizations in Canada, declare our righteous anger and rejection of the results of the Philippine national elections. The recent polls have been described as the dirtiest in the history of Philippine elections– one marred with fraud and irregularities, with over a thousand defective vote-counting machines (VCMs) in the voting precincts, widespread and systematic use of disinformation, fake news, intimidation, red tagging, blatant vote buying, and voter disenfranchisement.
No Clean and Honest Elections
The Comelec announcement of the incredible and controversial landslide victory of Marcos Jr. and Sara Duterte came while voters still lined up to cast their votes and waited for the broken down VCMs to be fixed and while precincts across the Philippines still had to send out their returns. The initial shock and disbelief turned into protest when people bravely marched to the headquarters of the Commission on Elections to reject the announced victory of Marcos Jr and Sara Duterte; this was followed days after by the walkouts by the students of the University of the Philippines, other universities and colleges, street actions of voters in different areas, public declarations of rejection of the Marcos Jr. and Duterte victory, and public protests overseas, including here in Canada.
With the Comelec’s dismissal of the Marcos Jr’s disqualification cases, people’s groups and their lawyers submitted their petitions before the Supreme Court to seek Marcos Jr’s disqualification from public office and to seek a restraining order on Congress from counting votes until it has made its decision, and demand that the Supreme Court uphold the rule of law.
The anti-fraud and election monitoring group Kontra Daya (Against Fraud) has denounced the gross failure of the Comelec, software provider Smartmatic and the F2 Logistics service over the automated election system (AES) and holds them accountable for the machine failures, irregularities, and voter disenfranchisement.
In Canada, the overseas voter registration process, the delayed mail-outs of the ballots from all foreign posts which impacted the mail-in returns of ballots, the lack of adequate, timely and accessible election advisories’ from the foreign posts, the significant volume of return to sender (RTS) ballots, the defective VCMs, and other issues of transparency all contributed to overseas voter disenfranchisement.
The two requirements in the right to suffrage under the Philippine Constitution – secret voting and public counting, were grossly violated, as explained by lawyer and senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares. In the conduct of the AES, documented reports exposed public voting in the precincts and private counting because no one knows how the machines counted the ballots in the election returns.
The success as claimed by the Comelec and impartial conduct of the recent elections are seriously questioned. The deliberate and malicious use of systematic fake news, especially on social media platforms like Facebook and TikTok, red-tagging, the use of troll farms, the widespread dissemination of a sanitized history of the dictator Marcos and his family, the martial law years, including the proliferation of Marcos myths such as the Tallano gold and the Marcos “golden years” prove that the will and constitutional right of the people can be easily subverted and destroyed by those who wield immense wealth and unbridled power.
The Evil Convergence
The convergence of two corrupt and fascist political dynasties of the Marcoses and the Dutertes with their “UniTeam” of corrupt and disgraced senators is the Philippines’ painful reality. We must continue to be vigilant and steadfast even as we express dread and apprehension of another Marcos in Malacanang for the next six years, partnered with Sara Duterte as the Vice-president and (God forbid!) the Secretary of Education.
As overseas Filipinos who live and work in Canada, we make these calls:
We call on the Philippine government for the immediate and independent investigations of the electoral irregularities and violations that cast doubt on the credibility of the elections, including the call for the manual recounts of ballots in precincts, including here in Canada.
We call on the Canadian government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hold off congratulatory messages to the presumptive President Marcos Jr. and Vice-President Duterte because of their controversial victory amid reports of election-related human rights violations by the Philippine Election 2022 International Observer Mission (IOM) and the Reports of the Independent International Commission into Human Rights Violations in the Philippines.
We call on the Canadian Government to end all support to, and cooperation with the Philippine military and police. This includes the withdrawal and ending of financial assistance for anti-terrorism and training provided directly to the Philippine government or through other entities such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other programs of Global Affairs Canada and other departments.
We call on the Canadian government to use the Canada’s Sergei Magnitsky Law, officially known as the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act to provide governmental sanctions against foreign individuals who have committed human rights abuses or been involved in significant corruption, including Rodrigo Duterte, those in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and others.
We call on the Canadian government to support the investigation of the International Criminal Court into Rodrigo Duterte’s crimes against humanity in his bloody “war on drugs.”
We strongly urge the Canadian government not only to stand firm in its commitment to protect and promote human rights in Canada and around the world but also to act according to the Voices at Risk: Canada’s Guidelines on Supporting Human Rights Defenders.
“Tuloy ang laban!”
We raise our righteous anger and serious concerns with the conduct and results of the election, but we also know that our patriotic sentiments and actions for our kababayan in the Philippines and overseas must continue and go beyond the elections.
These times dictate that more than ever, we need to link up with the broad and wide movement against Marcos Jr. and Duterte. This is the time when we need to gather and consolidate our strength, expand our ranks and organize, collaborate with, and continue to engage in public discourse and creative actions against tyranny and against attacks against our people’s rights and freedoms.
We do not let go of our collective dream and aspiration for genuine social transformation for the Filipino people.
We will continue to uphold respect for human rights, due process, good governance, and the rule of law.
The struggle to put first and foremost the rights and welfare of the Filipino people goes beyond elections.
The fight is not over. Tuloy ang laban!
Malaya Movement in Canada | May 22, 2022