By Rey Panaligan
Revisors of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) have reportedly found several unused or excess ballots which had been pre-shaded in favor of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
But this alleged discovery could not be confirmed from the PET, itself, since the proceedings on the manual recount and revision of ballots in three provinces identified by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos in his vice presidential protest are being held behind closed doors.
Robredo’s lawyer Bernadette Sardillo questioned the leakage of the information.
“We find the report ridiculous since at that time, only one ballot box was opened and this report surfaced immediately. How can this be reported that quick if no telephones or any mode of outside communication is allowed inside the revision area?”Sardillo asked.
The manual recount and revision of ballots started last Monday at the 5th floor of the Supreme Court-Court of Appeals gymnasium in Manila.
Sources said the pre-shaded unused or excess ballots were unearthed from the ballot boxes retrieved from the municipality of Baao in Camarines Sur, which together with Iloilo and Negros Oriental were identified by Marcos as his pilot areas where “massive irregularities” in the 2016 vice presidential election happened.
The same sources did not reveal how many shaded unused and excess ballots were taken from how many ballot boxes.
They also said that they found several ballots that were cutintohalf but were found in the valid ballots with the Robredo votes. A cut-into-half ballot means it was unused or excess, they said.
Marcos’ camp said the pre-shaded ballots could be used as evidence of fraud in the 2016 elections in Baao town.
“These could be rejected ballots that were mistakenly placed inside the envelope for unused ballots. Based on experience – due to the conditions inside the precincts – mistakes happen,” Robredo’s camp said.
On the first day of the manual recount and revision, Marcos said that 38 ballot boxes from Bato town in Camarines Sur have no audit logs while four ballot boxes were wet.
Robredo’s camp had said that the absence of audit logs and the wet ballots do not indicate fraud.
On the second day, four of the 40 head revisors of PET resigned.
The developments triggered apprehensions on delays in the manual recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces, the results of which would determine if the PET would proceed with the recount and revision of ballot in 24 other provinces and cities named by Marcos in his protest.
Marcos protested the results in 132,446 precincts in 27 provinces and cities. He identified the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental with 1,400 ballot boxes in 5,418 clustered precincts for the initial phase of recount and revision.
Based on the 2016 election results, Robredo was declared winner in the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.
Robredo also filed a counter-protest against Marcos. PET has already consolidated the two cases.