The election protest of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo has finally moved forward with the order of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to decrypt and print the ballot images in his three pilot provinces.
Acting on the go signal of the PET, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) started to decrypt and print the ballot images and other data found in the secure digital (SD) cards in its main office in Intramuros, Manila, on Monday.
The decryption and printing of the ballot images will be from Marcos’s three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, said the counsels of Robredo initially tried to postpone the scheduled decryption, reasoning that they only brought two revisors.
But because of the opposition of the Marcos camp, who came prepared for the decryption as scheduled by the PET, the Comelec denied Robredo’s motion to postpone and proceeded with the decryption of the ballot images, beginning with Camarines Sur.
The decryption and printing of ballot images of the three pilot areas will take at least seven months to finish. Rodriguez said the printed images would facilitate and expedite Marcos’s election protest.
The decryption was also attended by representatives from the PET and the Comelec Legal Department.
Rodriguez added that, in the last year and a half, Robredo’s camp has been questioning Marcos’s efforts to expedite the resolution of his election protest, including his move for technical examination and evaluation of the Election Day Computerized Voters’ List of the three Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao provinces, which is subject of a separate cause of action.
“All these constant and spurious delaying tactics by the Robredo camp have been going on for more than a year now. What are they afraid of? If they believe she won, they should be rushing to count the ballots so that this issue could finally be laid to rest, in her favor. Instead, they have adopted a strategy of delay and obfuscation,” Rodriguez said.
These tactics, Rodriguez added, indicate only one thing: “They know that the recount will make the cheating by the Liberal Party, as well as Robredo’s loss, apparent to all.”
Rodriguez said after18 long months, the PET may have finally noticed their ploy to “holdup the proceedings” because it recently ordered the exploratory teams to start locating the ballot boxes in the clustered precincts of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental so that it could order its retrieval and transfer to Manila.
In a resolution dated October 10, the PET ordered the members of the Exploratory/Retrieval Team to go to Camarines Sur either on October 16 to 20 or from October 23 to 27 to locate all the ballot boxes and map out the logistics needed for their retrieval and transportation to the Supreme Court compound in Manila, where the revision/recount of votes will take place.
“We are glad that the case is finally moving forward because each step forward is a step closer to the truth,” Rodriguez said.