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Marcos supporters revive false claim of 2016 election fraud in Basilan

Presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. received 5,425 votes in Lamitan City, Basilan in the 2016 vice presidential elections, according to the 2016 election results dashboards of ABS-CBN and GMA, contrary to his supporters’ claims that all votes in the city went to his rival Leni Robredo because of electoral fraud.

Marcos and other candidates received zero votes in only one polling center, Bohenange Elementary School, out of 38 polling centers in the city, according to the Commission on Elections’ dashboard for the 2016 national and local elections. Robredo received 595 votes from the clustered precinct’s 620 valid ballots.

A supporter of Marcos revived the false claim on May 3, saying the presence of three Iglesia ni Cristo churches in the city should have made it “impossible” for Marcos to receive no votes. The religious group endorsed Marcos for vice president in 2016.

The full claim posted on Facebook reads:

[...] Nakalimutan nyo na ba yung dayaan in (Have you forgotten the cheating in the) 2016 election where a lot of inc members in Lamitan City (Basilan) complained about mass cheating in their area because BBM got zero votes and it is impossible for them because there's a 3 locales (churches) there and yet BBM and other VP Aspirant did not get even 1 votes while Leni got the 100% votes of Lamitan City, kahit yung mga poll watchers ni BBM hindi rin napunta sakanya yung boto tas sasabihin nyo hindi nandaya (even the poll watchers of BBM, their votes for him weren’t getting in, then you will say that there is no cheating)?

There are only two Iglesia ni Cristo churches in Lamitan, according to the church’s online directory.

The locations of the 38 polling centers in the city, based on Comelec’s dashboard, were plotted on Google Maps to show the distribution of voting precincts around the two churches. An approximate location was determined for polling centers that do not appear on Google Maps.

There was also no evidence of “mass cheating” in the city, prompting the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to dismiss on Feb. 16, 2021 the electoral protest of Marcos against Robredo for lack of merit. The decision also said those who complained of irregularities in Lamitan had “woefully lacking” narratives.

The post was made shortly after Iglesia Ni Cristo endorsed Marcos and his running mate, Sara Duterte, for this year’s elections, in which Robredo is a candidate.

VERA Files fact-checked a similar claim in 2018.

The post has received 397 reactions, 80 shares and 35 comments. Other Facebook accounts that declare support for Marcos Jr. reposted the claim. (CC)


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