By Bernadette E. Tamayo | Journal Online
THE camp of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has maintained that the “data found” in some of the SD (secure digital) cards that were retrieved from supposedly unused Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) during the last May general polls has strengthened their election protest.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday conducted the decryption of 26 of the 127 SD cards data found during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs last October 2016.
In an interview during a break in the decryption of 26 SD cards found to have data, Marcos’ spokesperson, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, said that the fact that data were found in supposed to be untouched SD cards is proof that fraud had been committed in the May elections.
Marcos had questioned before the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electorial Tribunal (PET), the result of the vice presidential race during the last May 9 elections due to the reported massive poll fraud. Then Rep. Leni Robredo won over Marcos by 200,000 votes.
“This strengthens our position that massive fraud was indeed committed in the last elections because SD cards from unused VCM should be empty. However, we have confirmed today that indeed they have data in them so that bolsters our position,” said Rodriguez.
The other 101 SD cards were not part of the decryption as they were set aside by the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) upon the motion by former Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Chairman Francis Tolentino on his election protest before the SET.
During the decryption, 13 of the 26 SD cards were found to have folders containing data in them. Rodriguez also said the data in the SD Cards also supported their contention that the VCMs should not have been opened or stripped until after the conclusion of Marcos’ election protest at the PET.
more than 120 SD cards have data in them when they came from VCM kits that were not used? This is highly questionable. This also supports our contention that the VCMs should be preserved until the election protest is concluded in the PET because they represent an important aspect in the protest,” he said.
Marcos’ lawyers had earlier opposed the stripping of the unused VCMs as it was conducted in violation of the Protective Precautionary Order issued by the PET to preserve the integrity of the ballot boxes and other equipment used in the last elections.
Despite the objections of Marcos’ camp, the Comelec still proceeded with the stripping and turnover of the VCMs last Oct. 26.
Rodriguez said that despite the many hurdles being thrown their way, they will continue to fight for truth and the integrity of the elections.
“Of course we will fight this until the very end because the integrity of the country’s election system is at stake here and we would not stop until we shall have exposed all the fraud and machinations they carried out and continuously carry out until the present,” he said.