A YouTube video circulating in the Philippines features a supporter of Ferdinand Marcos Jr, a candidate in the 2022 presidential election, who claims that electronic voting company Smartmatic has been “removed” from poll after Marcos Jr lost the vice presidential race in 2016 due to “fraud”. The claims are false; Smartmatic has secured contracts to supply vote-counting machines and software for the election, while the Supreme Court dismissed Marcos Jr’s accusations of poll fraud.
The video has garnered more than 230,000 views after it was posted on YouTube on November 2.
The video’s Tagalog-language title reads: “FINALLY! SMARTMATIC WAS REMOVED FROM THE 2022 ELECTIONS! THE YELLOWS ARE NOW NERVOUS, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW THEY’LL BE ABLE TO CHEAT AGAIN!”
“Yellows” is a pejorative term for the Philippine political opposition.
Smartmatic provided electronic voting services in four previous Philippine elections.
Screenshot of the false post taken on November 4, 2021
During the eight-minute video, the man says: “Have you heard the news? Smart magic has been removed! Let’s see if Leni can still win. It’s time to replace Smartmatic and we deserve a clean election”.
“We know there’s an anomaly that happened so Leni could win in the past election”.
Ferdinand Marcos Jr, son and namesake of the country’s former dictator, accused rival candidate Leni Robredo of electoral fraud after she narrowly defeated him in the 2016 vice presidential race. He lost a bid to overturn the election results.
The man in the video adds: “They had 35 years to prove that the Marcoses have done something wrong and that they have stolen something. But why is it that they still haven’t proven that the Marcoses stole something?”
However, the claims in the video are false.
Smartmatic in 2022
A spokesman for the Philippine Commission on Elections (Comelec) said the video was inaccurate.
“We are still using the vote-counting machines and software we acquired from Smartmatic,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told AFP on November 3.
Previously asked if Smartmatic could still be replaced in 2022, Jimenez said in an interview on May 26 that: “We already had a bidding process and Smartmatic won”.
Poll fraud allegation
The Philippine Supreme Court in a unanimous decision February 2021 dismissed Marcos Jr’s election protest against Robredo “for lack of merit”.
“[Marcos Jr] failed to make out his case. There is no substantial recovery of votes in the pilot provinces that he himself had designated”, the decision states.
Multiple court rulings state the late dictator Marcos accumulated wealth fraudulently during his two-decade rule, contrary to the claim in the video.
An anti-graft court found Marcos widow Imelda guilty of corruption in 2018.