Manila Bulletin – Bongbong asks for data from unused counting machines in May 9 polls

By Rey Panaligan | Manila BulletinManila-Bulletin

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to compel the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to furnish him with the results of the decryption of the secured digital (SD) cards retrieved from 1,356 units of vote counting machines (VCMs) that were not used during the May 9 elections.

In his motion filed with the PET—composed of the 15 justices of the Supreme Court—Marcos said the supposedly unused SC cards were found to have data stored in them when Comelec conducted stripping activities last October 26 and November 2 to release the 1,356 unused VCMs to Smartmatic.

Marcos had opposed the stripping of the VCMs because they are covered by the precautionary protective order (PPO) issued by the PET in his protest against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, and that the mere physical examination is not enough to prove that they were not used in the last elections.

“With all due respect, the presence of data stored in the SD cards, which were retrieved from the 1,356 units of contingency VCMs bolsters the position of protestant Marcos that the mere physical examination of the subject VCMs, boxes, seals, stickers and SD cards is indeed inadequate to prove that the same were not used in the 9 May 2016 Elections,” Marcos said.

Earlier, Marcos had manifested before the PET that on the same day the tribunal issued the PPO, Comelec also issued a resolution to conduct a stripping activity of the VCMs.

“Thus, if Comelec already made plans to erase the election data four days after the public announcement of the PPO—could it be that the Comelec was trying to fast-track the stripping of election data before the PPO could officially be served on them?” he said.

Robredo had asked the PET to dismiss the election protest filed against her saying the issues raised by Marcos do not constitute an election protest.

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