THE camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday asserted that data found in many of the secure digital (SD) cards retrieved from supposedly unused vote-counting machines (VCMs) strengthened their election protest.
In an interview during a break in the decryption of 26 SD cards found to have data at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Intramuros, Manila, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, said the fact that data were found in supposed to be untouched SD cards was proof that fraud had been committed in the May 2016 elections.
“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,” Rodriguez said.
The Comelec conducted the decryption of 26 of the 127 SD cards found to have data during the stripping of 1,356 unused VCMs last October 2016.
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 Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino in relation to his election protest before the tribunal.
During the decryption, 13 of the 26 SD cards were found to have folders containing data in them. 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’ protest in connection with the vice-presidential race at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
“How can 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 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 the Marcos camp, the Comelec still proceeded with the stripping and turnover of the VCMs on October 26, 2016.
“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,” Rodriguez said.