By Ted Tuvera | Daily Tribune
The ballot images that former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos recently presented to prove automated fraud in the vice presidential vote in the 2016 elections came from the Supreme Court (SC), a counsel of Marcos in the electoral protest said yesterday.
Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’s counsel, said before a regular Saturday forum that the authenticity of the documents presented by Marcos are hard to controvert since the camp of the former senator obtained these from the SC which has convened into the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to hear the poll protest of Marcos.
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo branded the documents as “fabricated.”
“They should not assail the integrity of the Supreme Court since the group of Mrs. Robredo a couple of days back have alleged that what we hold were fabricated, manufactured, tampered pieces of evidence,” Rodriguez said.
“Mind you, these came from the Supreme Court which can’t provide fraudulent, tampered or manufactured evidence,” Rodriguez added.
Marcos’ claimed that his camp has uncovered “solid and incontrovertible evidence of massive fraud that transpired in the 2016 elections” based on copies of ballot images from the pilot provinces of Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental.
But Robredo’s poll protest counsel Romulo said the claims of Marcos were “highly ridiculous if not outright frivolous” and added if the ballot images in possession of the Marcos camp fail to match those in the custody of the PET it would be considered as fabricated.
Marcos in a recent media briefing earlier identified ballot images from Barangay Salvacion in Tigaon, Camarines Sur and barangays Poblacion and Jilocon in Negros Oriental as showing votes for him were not counted and considered undervotes to prove automated cheating during the 2016 elections.
Rodriguez said the ballot images came from decryption proceedings in relation to the former senator’s electoral protest and came from “soft copies obtained from the SC.”
“We obtained the soft copies when we were printing in the office and the mysterious squares came out. This is a true and authentic reproduction ng ballot images,” Rodriguez added.
Marcos had questioned the presence of square shapes in the ballot images instead of the oval shapes which voters shaded for their choice of candidates.
“When we voted, we had the oval shapes. How come in the ballot images, the ovals are gone and instead we have the squares. What does this mean?” he said.
“We could see based on the election results summary that the squares indicated the candidates that were voted upon. But this is a new feature that the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and Smartmatic added in the system and I had been told they did not inform the candidates of the presence of this feature in the images,” Marcos said.
Marcos added that in some of the ballot images, even though two or more candidates were shaded in the vice presidential race, the votes still went to his opponent, then Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo instead of being considered “overvotes”.
“We have discovered many instances where my votes are not counted and are considered undervotes. That is why there are high undervotes in the vice presidency which is more than 3 million. But as for my opponent, even if it is not her vote, it is still counted as hers,” he pointed out.
Rodriguez believed that the cheating was mainly on the votes of the former senator.
“The fraud perpetrated is Marcos specific, and the cheating was carried out with such surgical position targeting only the votes for Senator Marcos,” he explained.
Marcos had slammed the resolution of the PET to withhold the original copies of the decrypted ballot images and other documents from Marcos after requiring him to pay for the costs of the decryption and the printing of the ballot images.
In a resolution dated Jan. 10, 2018, which was received by Marcos’ lawyers on Jan, 17, 2018, the Tribunal said it would keep the original copies of the ballot images despite previously requiring Marcos to pay for the copies and all costs for the decryption.
In the same resolution, the PET said although Marcos was allowed to get the “photocopies or soft copies of the decrypted ballot images”, he should pay once more for the “incidental costs” for securing the same.
Rody hands off
President Duterte will not be involved or have any say on the developments of Marcos’ electoral protest against Robredo, Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.
Roque, who was in the Marcos family’s Ilocos Norte bailiwick yesterday, told reporters that the Palace is leaving the former senator’s case for the PET to settle.
Roque sat in the presser with Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos who, in turn, made hints of a 2019 senatorial bid given her frequent presence in popular fiestas around the country.
“The President is strictly hands-off in the former senator’s case. Let the Supreme Court resolve this case,” Roque said.
“We can be sure that the Supreme Court will do everything to resolve this election protest,” he added.
It is known that the Marcos family is considered an ally of Mr. Duterte but Marcos Jr. ran as vice president in the ticket of the late senator Miriam Defensor Santiago during the 2016 polls.
But Mr. Duterte had said that Imee Marcos was among those who helped him fund his presidential bid. However, not a single Marcos was tallied in his statement of campaign expenses.
The chief executive also allowed the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in 2016 that was met with protest actions.