By Joel E. Zurbano | Manila Standard Today
THE election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. gained strength following the decryption of 26 secure digital or SD cards retrieved from supposedly unused Vote Counting Machines, Marcos’ legal counsel Victor Rodriguez said Monday.
He said the fact that data were found in the supposedly untouched SD cards was proof that fraud had been committed in the May 9 elections.
“This strengthens our position that massive fraud was indeed committed in the last elections because SD cards from unused VCM should be empty,” Rodriguez said.
“However, we have confirmed today that, indeed, they have data in them so that bolsters our position.”
Rodriguez said the Commission on Elections decrypted 26 of the 127 SD cards and found folders containing data during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs.
The other 101 SD cards were not part of the decryption as they were set aside by the Senate Electoral Tribunal on a motion by former Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino on his election protest before the tribunal.
Decryption was still being conducted as of press time.
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 Presidential Electoral Protest.
“How can more than 120 SD cards have data in them when they came from VCMs kits that were not used? This is highly questionable,” Rodriguez said.
“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.”
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.
But the Comelec still proceeded with the stripping and turnover of the VCMs on Oct. 26 last year.
Rodriguez said despite the many hurdles being thrown their way, they would continue to fight for the truth and the integrity of the elections.
Marcos, the only son of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, filed an election protest with the Supreme Court in connection with the vice presidential race in the May 9 elections that he said was marred by massive cheating.
The protest came a month after the National Board of Canvassers proclaimed Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and then Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as the duly elected President and Vice President, respectively.
Robredo, who ran under the ruling Liberal Party, the political party of then President Benigno Aquino III, won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes, up by only 263,473 against the votes received by Marcos.
But Marcos declared that the cheating carried out in the May 9 elections was massive and unprecedented because it had become institutionalized.