From left: Cavalier Alex Lacson, Capt. Bob Yap (ret), Col. Hector Tarrazona (ret), Col. Mar Santiago (ret), Brig. Gen. Eli Rio (ret) and Dean Edwin Fernandez.

QUEZON CITY – The September Twenty One Reform Movement (STORM) on Thursday (Nov. 9) categorically denied any involvement in the alleged destabilization moves against the government and oust President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. from power.

(Ret.) Brig. Gen. Eli Rio, main convenor of TN Trio (Truth and Transparency Trio) and former DICT (Department of Communications Technology) Secretary, made the denial during a press conference in Kamuning Bakery in Quezon City.

Rio noted that on Nov. 3, 2022 a mandamus petition was filed with the Supreme Court to order the Comelec (Commission on Elections), Smartmatic and the service providers to preserve the 39,512 vote counting machines (VCMs) which have transmitted from 7:08 p.m. to 8 p.m. on May 9, 2022, which was a record in the history of the Philippines and was even a “world record but we are not proud of it.”

He said that in the last 2022 election, the exact location of the VCMs was not identified.

“We asked Comelec in July 2022, who replied that they cannot grant the request of the TN Trio. Col. Ordonio reiterated the petition for the transmission log, but when it was examined by the movement, which for them was only a ‘reception log’ or even a ‘deception log,’” Rio said.

On Sept. 14, 2023 the Comelec was compelled to go to the Senate during the budget deliberations, and they were compelled to disclose that the transmission log of the Telcos (Telecommunication companies) was already posted on the Comelec website on Sept. 8, 2023.

“Only common sense would prove that the election of May 2022 was rigged. The STORM did not invent anything and did not add up anything on the list of VCM received during the first hour of transmission of May 9, 2022, the very first election return was received by the Transparency Server from Clustered Precinct 31080039 on 7:08:50 p.m. after the election was closed at 7 p.m.,” Rio said.

Rio was a former National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) Commissioner.

In Globe’s transmission log from 1:15 p.m. to 7:08 p.m. of May 9, 2022, Rio said clearly shows that 7,975 or almost 8,000 VCMs transmitted their ERs before being received in the Comelec Server whose first entry in its reception log was 7:08:50 p.m. of May 9, 2022.

Rio added that Globe’s transmission log from 7:08:50 p.m. to 8:02 p.m. of May 9, 2022, clearly shows that only 13,578 VCMs transmitted their ERs or a total of 21,553 in the first hour of counting.

The municipal board of canvassers (MBOCs) would collect all the votes and canvass the same. There were more than 2,000 municipal servers nationwide. When they have already canvassed the election returns (ERs), they will then send the certificates of votes to the Comelec server.

Rio cited for an example the Smart Telco log wherein Abucay town in Bataan province, where the MBOC became active at 1 p.m., 6 hours before voting closed at 7 p.m. It was receiving and transmitting data from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the same rate as after precincts closed at 7 p.m.

The Smart Telco log pertains to data bytes received/transmitted by MBOCs.

Likewise, the Agoncillo MBOC in Batangas, the Agoo MBOC in La Union, and the Alabel MBOC, which all became active at 1 p.m., or 6 hours before voting closed at 7 p.m. of May 9, 2022.  

Rio said that the Comelec should explain why the 39,512 ERs were already transmitted even before the election voting was closed at 7 p.m. of May 9, 2022.

He claimed that the real VCMs were still counting the votes cast and yet there were already ERs transmitted, which for them, are “pre-loaded” or “pre-programmed”, noting that, during the “first hour” or “constant large number of votes” would justify the “60-29-5-2 percent rate” in favor the winning candidate.

Rio added that the alleged election rigger anchored its arguments on “The law of large number” such that there was already a large number being transmitted at 1 p.m. even before the closing of votes at 7 p.m. of May 9, 2022.

He said that the election was guided by Republic Act No. 9369, otherwise known as the “Omnibus Election Code”, and that the P1.035-billion contract was with Smartmatic for the May 9, 2022 automated synchronized national elections.

Rio argued that there was an illegal “Telco exchange” committed by Smartmatic which was an illegal “Man-in-the-Middle”. “All these evidences came from the website of Comelec itself.”

“The 39,512 ERs can be transmitted by the telecommunication companies (Telcos) such as Globe, Smart, however, what we are questioning was the time by which the ERs were already being transmitted at 1 p.m. of May 9, 2022 when the voting process was still to end at 7 p.m. of the same day,” he said.

Rio said that they are not after who really was the winner or loser in May 9, 2022 as the “period of filing a protest” has already lapsed. “We would like that what happened in the last election should not happen again.”

“We are not the source of any destabilization, whatsoever, but the government itself. The government critics know that the huge 31 million votes got by PBBM was not that much,” he added.

Rio noted that their last petition was to disqualify Smartmatic as it provided the alleged questionable data. 

Gus Lagman drafted the law for the conduct of “hybrid” manual counting in the precinct and the transmission is automated kind of election, but to no avail. The Comelec is still for the synchronized automated elections in 2025.

“Globe and Smart had nothing to do with the content of the text/message, but they were only concerned with the CDRs (Call Date Records) for the collection and billing purposes,” Rio said. 

Col. Mar Santiago, who used to be with the administration of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, Sr., former LTO chief and graduated from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1967, said “We are just interested that every vote of a Filipino citizen is counted. With the hard problems being faced by the present dispensation, we are just looking after the welfare of the next generation which is ‘futuristic.’”

Santiago said that the Filipino people show know that there was already a “result” even before the votes were counted.

He stressed that destabilization does not come from the movement but emanates from the “wrong-doings” that may have been committed by the present government.

Santiago said that their being “retired officers” is just “coincidental”, adding that, their advocacy is continuous for the welfare and general well-being of the Filipino people.

He admitted that personally they do not know each other. They only wanted to recruit the Filipino people to protect their right of suffrage for a clean and honest election.

Mariano reminisced that he once provided security to the then young Marcos and he even voted for him in the last election.

He said that TN Trio and STORM would not have come out in the open if only Comelec (Commission on Elections) had been “transparent”, adding that, Smartmatic has been caught “cheating” in Venezuela. 

(Ret.) Col. Hector Tarrazona, who claimed to have become No. 3 in the hit list of Malacanang, and graduate of PMA Class of 1968, said “I have no doubt that the election (May 9, 2022) was rigged. I stood before the media because I did not represent any political party.”

He strongly opposed the Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) Corporation as early as December 2022.

Tarrazona said that the people of Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) and the Landbank of the Philippines (Landbank) were purportedly angry that they would both invest PHP50 billion each to the MIF Corporation.

He had already sent his complaints with the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) of the Office of the President (OP), which for him, at least he had done what he has to do.

Tarrazona also claimed that seven out of the 24 sitting senators were allegedly involved in the multi-billion-peso Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam purportedly masterminded by detained businesswoman Janet Lim Napoles.

He assured that there is no destabilization coming from the military, whether active or retired personnel.

He noted that if Vice President and Department of Education (DepEd) Secretary Sara “Inday” Zimmerman Duterte Carpio would be catapulted into power, the Philippines will be into a “worse” situation.

“We are not part of any destabilization, if ever there is any. We are against any form of destabilization,” (Ret.) Capt. Bob Yap said. 

Cavalier Alex Lacson, convenor of TN Trio and former senatoriable, said “the root cause of all human sufferings is ignorance.” “Ang katotohanan po ay buhay at gumagalaw. Those who are fighting, you are the hope. Tuloy po ang laban. Isulong po ang Hybrid election system at tanggalin ang Smartmatic,” Lacson said. – By Perfecto T. Rayjmundo, Jr