Manila Bulletin – Marcos to file petition opposing return of counting machines

20 October 2016

By Leslie Ann Aquino | Manila BulletinManila-Bulletin

STA. ROSA, LAGUNA – The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Wednesday said they will file a petition seeking to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from returning to Smartmatic International more than a 1,000 vote counting machines (VCM) that were supposedly unused in the May 2016 polls.

Jose Amor Amorado, the legal counsel of Marcos, said he will file the petition before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), where the election protest of Marcos in relation to the 2016 vice presidential race is currently pending.

“Ferdinand Marcos is vehemently opposing the plan of Comelec to return the 1,356 VCMs to Smartmatic for the simple reason that there is no approval from the PET,” he said in an interview after meeting with Comelec and Smartmatic officials in Laguna where the VCM units are stored.

“According to the precautionary and protection order issued by PET, all machines, election paraphernalia that were used during the last elections should be preserved, and should not be tampered with in preparation for whatever proceedings in the protest of BBM,” added Amorado.

Because of this lack of PET approval, he said they will oppose the plan of Comelec by filing the necessary motion either this week or next week.

“The importance of this move is to remove any doubt on whether or not these machines were actially tampered with. In so far as our technical people are concerned, there is no way that Comelec will be able to prove that these machines were not actually used. Plus from the legal standpoint, these machines were used actually as contingency machines. Whether or not they were opened is beside the point,” Amorado said.

Meanwhile, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo is not opposing the plan of the poll body for as long as the process will be made transparent.

“All we’ve been requesting from Comelec is they be transparent and we be informed of whatever activities they undertake so we can send a representative. We don’t have any objection,” Atty. Bernadette Sardillo, Robredo’s representative, said in a separate interview.