Manila Standard Today - Bongbong: Fraud marred VP race

30 January 2018

By Rey E. Requejo and Rio N. Araja | Manila Standard Today 

THE camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Monday revealed “solid and incontrovertible” evidence of fraud during the May 2016 national and local elections allegedly to ensure the election of Vice President Leni Robredo.

Marcos said they had found many pieces of evidence of poll fraud on the printed ballot images after they secured some of the soft copies of the ballot images from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal from some of the clustered precincts in Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental.

“They keep on delaying giving us the copies. It has been three months since the ballot images were printed and it was only recently that the PET [Presidential Electoral Tribunal] allowed us to get the soft copies,” Marcos said in a statement.

“Now we know why. This is shocking and highly questionable. They knew we would uncover how they had manipulated the voting and trampled upon the true will of the people on their choice for vice president.”

Marcos made his statement even as Robredo’s camp on Monday said Marcos should blame himself for the delay in the resolution of the election protest he filed against her.

“He only has to blame himself for filing a weak and flawed election protest that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal has to resolve before the case could move on,” Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal said.

He reacted to Marcos’ repeated statement blaming Robredo for such delay, saying his claim was “baseless and self-serving since he was the one who is filing baseless motions and raising pointless issues.”

“It was Marcos who first asked the PET to first resolve the issue of defective election system and his vaunted claim that he would be presenting voluminous documents and evidence to prove his case,” Macalintal said.

The Marcos camp was referring to what he described as “shocking” and “highly questionable” ballot images from Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, which formed part of the pilot provinces in his election protest pending before the Supreme Court which is acting as PET.

The Comelec had yet to start the decryption of the SD cards from Iloilo, he said.

Marcos questioned the presence of square shapes in the ballot images instead of the oval shapes that the 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?” Marcos 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 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 in the previous elections, the ballot images would contain the oval shapes because the images were supposed to be just mirror images of the actual ballots.

“How come in the 2016 elections there are squares? The ovals are now missing. Comelec should explain this,” Marcos said.

He also claimed that the copies of ballot images from Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental showed that the votes for him were not counted and considered undervotes

He also said 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 Robredo instead of being considered overvotes.

Marcos’ spokesman Vic Rodriguez said that, after their technical and legal team discovered the “shocking & disturbing” discrepancies in the hundreds upon hundreds of decrypted ballot images in Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, which they were able to review in the last seven days, they could not help but wonder if the current automated election system was as “squeaky clean” as Comelec and Smartmatic claimed it to be.

Rodriguez said they had opted to secure the soft copies of the ballot images since it was the less expensive option than paying once again for the photocopies of the images.

Last week, Marcos 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.