By Raymund Antonio
The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has canceled the retrieval of 430 ballot boxes from the clustered precincts of Iloilo City.
Vice President Leni Robredo’s legal consultant Emil Marañon III gave this update as the SC stopped through a “verbal order” to its local personnel the retrieval of the ballot boxes from all over Iloilo City for the vice presidential electoral protest.
“Kahapon, we raised the fact na actually Iloilo City is a highly-urbanized city and therefore, hindi siya part ng province ng Iloilo. So, I think na kinonsider naman ng Supreme Court actually iyong ni-raise namin na point,” he told reporters.
(Yesterday, we raised the fact that Iloilo City is actually a highly-urbanized city and therefore, it is not part of Iloilo province. So, I think the Supreme Court considered actually the point we raised.)
Two trucks carrying ballot boxes from Iloilo City arrived at the staging area in Philippine Span Asia Container, Inc. in Jaro, Iloilo City but these were no longer unloaded for the turn over of the ballots to PET.
The camp of Robredo raised to the SC the ballot boxes from Iloilo City should not be included in the retrieval process since it is “separate and independent” from Iloilo province.
Iloilo is one of the three contested pilot provinces that Marcos chose for the initial recount for his protest, along with Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental.
The Vice President defeated Marcos in Iloilo after she garnered 573,829 votes over her rival’s 94,411 votes in the 2016 elections.
In Iloilo City, Robredo got 137,662 votes while Marcos only obtained 33,778 votes.
Marañon said that there were 515 ballot boxes that were retrieved last Monday from seven municipalities.
On the second day, around 400 ballot boxes, which excluded those from Iloilo City, were turned over to PET, he said.
He noted that ballots from the towns of Oton got drenched by rain during the retrieval. He also found damaged ballot boxes and wet ballots from the municipality of Miagao.
These ballot boxes and their contents were destroyed due to rainwaters coming from a hole on the roof of the warehouse, where these were stored, during the onslaught of Typhoon Gorio in 2017.
The lawyer was in Iloilo to observe the ballot retrieval that will end until May 25.
“Ang purpose nito is because ayaw namin na ma-surprise din sa condition ng ballot boxes, and of course ayaw din namin na ma-mislead iyong mga taumbayan katulad noong experience namin sa Camarines Sur,” he said.
(The purpose of this is because we don’t want to be surprised with the condition of the ballot boxes, and of course we don’t the public to be misled like in our experience in Camarines Sur.)