On 5 June 2017, BBM a Notice from the COMELEC informing the parties in Election Protest Case No. 2016-07 (Angana vs. Zambo, et.al) that the technical examination for the said case will commence on 7 June 2017 at the COMELEC office in Manila.
On 7 June 2017, BBM received the Manifestation / Compliance from the COMELEC, in compliance with PET Resolutions dated 18 and 25 April 2017, respectively. Please note that :
• The 18 April 2017 Resolution directed the COMELEC to clarify matters regarding the suspension of the stripping activities on the Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS). In response, the COMELEC notified the Tribunal that it cannot back up significant reports and data contained in the CCS laptops since the digital certificates of the CCS expired in December 2016.
• The 25 April 2017 Resolution required the COMELEC to inform the Tribunal of the itemized costs it may be required to pay under the Automated Election System (AES) contracts. According to the COMELEC, the itemized costs which SMARTMATIC may require the COMELEC to pay amounts to Php 2,078,304,225.76 . The 2B peso cost was “on account of the instant election protest”.
On 7 June 2017, BBM received a Notice from the COMELEC (Baybay City, Leyte) informing him of the conduct of the:
1) Opening of the ballot boxes of Clustered Precinct no. 33, Precinct Nos. 0086A, 0087A Brgy. Kanghaas on 14 June 2017 at the Municipal Hall of Hilongos, Leyte; and
2) Retrieval of the election returns for the May 2016 elections at Hilongos, Leyte on 14 June 2017.
On 9 June 2017, BBM received a Notice from the PET which resolved, among others, to:
1) CONSTITUTE a panel of 3 Commissioners to preside over the reception of evidence of the present electoral protest;
2) APPOINT the following as Chairperson and members of the panel of Commissioners:
i. Justice Jose Vitug as Chairperson
ii. Atty. Angelito Imperio as Member
iii. Atty. Irene Ragodon-Guevarra as Member;
3) REQUIRE Robredo to comment on BBM’s Motion for Decryption and Printing of Ballot Images;
4) DEFER action on Robredo’s 24 February 2017 Motion for Reconsideration, Pro Tanto, [because] these matters would be discussed during the preliminary conference;
5) RESET the preliminary conference from 21 June 2017 to 11 July 2017 at 2:00 p.m. at the En Banc session hall; and
6) DIRECT the parties to submit their preliminary conference briefs on or before 16 June 2017.
The Notice likewise resolved matters incidental to the present protest, such as:
1) GRANT authority to the HRET Secretary to take custody of the ballot boxes and other election paraphernalia used in the May 2016 elections with respect to the election protest cases pending with the HRET; and
2) GRANT the COMELEC (through the Office of the Exceutive Director) clearance to transfer the 2016 ballot boxes, as well as all the files pertaining to the May 2016 elections to the New Municipal Building but with prior notice of the date of the said transfer to the PET and the parties.
The PET has scheduled the Preliminary Conference for BBM’s election protest for 11 July 2017.
After 49 weeks, we are still waiting for the PET :
• to issue a Retrieval Order [per undertaking # 7 of 21]