Manila Standard – FM Jr. opposes use of damaged ballots in poll protest

By PNA | Manila Standard

The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Thursday it would oppose the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s use of decrypted ballot images and the tribunal’s insistence on reverting to electronically generated election returns in the ongoing election protest over the alleged massive cheating in the 2016 vice presidential polls in Camarines.

In a message to the Philippine News Agency, Marcos’ spokesman, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, said the decrypted ballot images represented a significant number of ballots that had been damaged and were clearly compromised and could not reflect the true outcome of the polls.

Rodriguez said the returns should not be used because “it is a product of the automated election system the product of which is precisely what we are questioning.”

He added they would welcome any move by the PET, motu proprio (on its own), to clarify its earlier resolution on the controversy over its recent resolution on the threshold controversy.

“As far as we are concerned, it is the body of the resolution in its entirety, which should be controlling and not one mere phrase,” Rodriguez said.

He noted the PET had clearly set out why it adopted the 50-percent shading threshold after the Commission on Elections only belatedly informed the PET that as a policy they counted votes with as at least 25-percent shading.

He also criticized the preemptive acts of opposing counsel in claiming the resolution was in their favor.

In a 21-page decision dated Sept. 18, the PET, through Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, partially granted the motion filed by the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo asking to set aside its earlier decision upholding the 50-percent threshold over the 25-percent threshold, which she said was used by the Comelec during the 2016 elections.

The matter involved conflicting views on how much partial shading of a circle beside a candidate’s name in the ballot is sufficient to be counted as a vote for the said candidate in the election protest for the vice presidential race in the last elections.

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