Manila Standard - Marcos: More poll irregularities

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

THE camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Sunday described as “deeply disturbing” the discovery of alleged irregularities involving the ballots from Iloilo that are set to be re-counted by the Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Marcos’s spokesman Vic Rodriguez made the statement after the PET retrieval team found several anomalies on the ballots from one of three pilot provinces for a recount in the 2016 vice presidential race.

Marcos claims having been cheated in that race that was won by Leni Robredo, and on June 29, 2016 filed a protest and demanded a re-count of the votes.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.

Rodriguez particularly cited reports of ballots placed inside plastic containers commonly used as household storage devices or picnic containers.

“We are deeply disturbed as to these kinds of reports and are in serious discussion whether there are still authentic documents left to be examined after they were observed to have been placed in ordinary plastic containers that are readily available in supermarkets instead of on the much hyped tamper-proof VCM’s or official ballot boxes of Smartmatic as required by law,” Rodriguez said, in a statement.

Aside from the ballots found inside plastic containers, the retrieval team also claimed having discovered wet ballots, ballot boxes with broken seals, boxes with damaged covers and metal boxes with no padlocks.

They said wet ballots were earlier found in Camarines Sur, but it was the first time the PET had discovered ballots placed outside ballot boxes.

The tribunal’s team did not immediately know why the ballots were placed inside the plastic containers.

They managed to retrieve more than 2,200 ballot boxes from the clustered precincts in Iloilo province for the ongoing recount.

The retrieved boxes were loaded in 16 container vans and transported via the sea by four cargo ships, which left the province the other day for the port of Manila.

For Camarines Sur, where the votes in about 200 clustered precincts have yet to be recounted, the PET had already ordered the municipal treasurers to explain the existence of wet ballots.

Last month, the tribunal ordered the retrieval of ballots in 2,740 clustered precincts in Iloilo for the second part of the initial manual recount for the election protest of Marcos against Robredo.