Manila Standard Today – ‘Unused’ cards have data, Marcos tells Supreme Court
By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard Today
THE camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Friday asked the Supreme Court, act ing as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to furnish it with the results of the decryption of the supposedly “unused” SD cards found to have data during the stripping process.
In a six-page manifestation, Marcos counsel George Erwin Garcia said the fact that many of the supposedly “unused” SD cards were found to have data during the stripping activities for 1,356 units of contingency Vote Counting Machines bolstered its position that mere physical examination was not enough to prove they were not used in the last elections.
“With all due respect, the presence of data stored in the SD cards, 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’ counsel said.
Comelec conducted the stripping activities after it unilaterally decided to release 1,356 VCMs to Smartmatic claiming they were not covered by the PPO since they were not used and/or not deployed in the May elections.
But it was later discovered that many SD cards in the supposedly “unused” VCMs were found to contain data during the stripping activities conducted by the poll body and Smartmatic.
This prompted the Marcos camp to request for the results of decryption of the SD cards found to contain data.
“It is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Tribunal to direct the Comelec to furnish the protestant and the other interested parties in this case with …the results of the decryption of the SD cards from (1,356) units of contingency VCMS, which were found to contain data during the said closure/stripping activities . . .” Garcia stressed.
The Marcos lawyer told the PET they did not take part in the stripping activities on Oct. 26, and Nov. 2 because its position was the Comelec should have first secured authority from the PET before carrying out the stripping activities.
He said the existence of a Precautionary Protective Order, which enjoined Comelec to preserve all election materials used in the last elections, precluded the poll body from conducting the said activity without court approval.
Garcia said: “The objection of protestant Marcos was based on his position that the 1,356 units of contingency VCMs were covered by the PPO dated July 12, 2016, and that this Honorable Tribunal has not issued any explicit approval to the closure/stripping activities.
“Moreover, the conduct of mere physical examination of the subject VCMs, boxes, seals, stickers and SD cards is inadequate to prove that the same were not used in the May 9, 2016 Elections.”
With the subsequent approval of the PET to conduct the stripping activities, Garcia said the group still reserved its right to question the propriety and legitimacy of the undertaking.
So as not to render its objection moot, Garcia appealed to the tribunal to compel the Comelec to furnish them copies of the Minutes of the Proceedings and other documents in relation to the activities which would guide them in their next course of action.
“On this score, and to guide protestant Marcos on the appropriate action to remedy his precarious situation, he would like to request this Honorable Tribunal to direct the Comelec to furnish him and the other interested parties in this case with copies of the Minutes of the Proceedings and/or Transcript of Stenographic Notes taken during the closure/stripping activities on Oct. 26, 2016 and Nov. 2, 2016.” he said.