Overwhelming votes will make cheating in 2022 hard: Diokno

Senatorial candidate Chel Diokno in a Zoom townhall meeting with Negrense multi-sectoral leaders Saturday evening, October 30.*

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno, who is running for senator under the ticket of presidential aspirant Leni Robredo, said it will be difficult for the opposition to be cheated if they get overwhelming votes in the 2022 elections.

“The more overwhelming the vote is, the harder it will be to cheat,” he said.

Diokno was reacting to concern that the majority of the Commission on Elections commissioners has been appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte.

In the race for the presidency with a four or five cornered fight, every vote will really make a difference, said Diokno, who serves as chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and is the founding dean of the De La Salle University College of Law.

“They can only do so much damage, I don’t think they will really be able to tinker with the outcome of an election. Maybe if it is very close they will be able to allow some forms of cheating,” he said.

Diokno said from his talks with some IT people “it is really hard to manipulate wholesale a computerized election, but they might be able to do it in certain areas.”

Every party has watchers so there will always be a way to compare what was transmitted electronically with what was voted in a precinct, he said.

The extension of the voter registration was already a victory because he thinks most of those who wanted to register lately are going to vote for the opposition, Diokno said.

Diokno, who is the son of the late Senator Jose W. Diokno, also warned that as the elections near more and more fake news and historical revisionism will appear on social media.

“We have to be very discerning in what to believe and share,“ he stressed.

Diokno on Saturday held a town hall Zoom meeting with multi-sectoral leaders from various parts of Negros Occidental.

He is fully supportive of all efforts to go green, especially in Negros, by shifting from fossil fuel reliance to renewable energy, Diokno said.

The country can never really achieve sustainability if it continues to rely on non renewable energy, he said.

“Instead of shifting into more renewable and better green energy options our government has entered into long term contracts with coal-fired power plants that will last 20 to 25 years,” he said.

They cause air and water pollution and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources does not have the equipment to monitor air quality from coal plants to ensure that they are within acceptable limits, he said.

He said as a senator he would work at removing the obstacles to the country’s shift towards renewable energy.

Diokno said he would also push for judicial reforms if elected to the Senate next year.

Administrations come and go but laws will remain in our statute books, he said.

“Justice is an important component of our lives,” Diokno said, as he stressed the need to put more teeth into the law to ensure that the people’s rights to better lives are protected.

He lauded the country’s frontliners for their work in the fight against COVID-19, and lamented the overpricing of medical supplies to address the pandemic.

“The pandemic has shown us the many faces of injustice”, he said, pointing out that many frontliners have yet to receive benefits due them.

He also cited a need for a magna carta for the youth to protect their rights. There is a need to codify all laws to protect the youth sector, who are the biggest resource of the country, he said.*

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