By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
The camp of Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo claimed on Tuesday that the loading of Guihulngan City’s ballot boxes in Negros Oriental was a “mess.”
Issuing a statement, Robredo’s camp said it informed the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) of its observations during the first day of retrieval of ballot boxes in Negros Oriental in connection with the election protest filed by former senator, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In a four-page manifestation filed on Tuesday, Robredo’s lawyers told the PET that the ballot boxes from Guihulngan City “were immediately loaded in the containers after inventory due to lack of space in the staging area.”
Atty. Romulo Macalintal said that during the loading of the ballot boxes, the “representatives of both parties expressed their apprehension with the way they were being arranged in the container, which might lead to damage.”
Macalintal said that both parties, however, “were assured that the manner by which the ballot boxes were placed in the containers will prevent any damage during transport.”
Macalintal noted that only “one damaged ballot box” from Guihulngan City was turned over to the Honorable Tribunal, “meaning that if more ballot boxes end up damaged, it happened during its transport to the PET headquarters in Manila.”
Robredo’s legal counsel also cited another incident in the municipality of Bindoy, “where only one damaged ballot box was accounted for during the inventory.” However, he noted that “two more ballot boxes sustained damage during the transport to the staging area.”
Macalintal pointed out that “the ballot boxes have been arranged in a similar manner which risks damage to the ballot boxes and the red plastic seals.”
Also, Macalintal made the manifestation to preempt any malicious report that Robredo’s camp has “anything to do with the damaged ballot boxes.”
Macalintal also lamented the fact that Robredo’s camp “has been unfairly blamed several times for the presence of wet ballots and ballot boxes by supporters of Marcos, both in social media and news reports, in the provinces of Iloilo and Camarines Sur.”
“This, while conveniently omitting that protestant Marcos has had representatives during the collection and retrieval of the ballot boxes in the Provinces of Camarines Sur and Iloilo,” Macalintal explained.
More importantly, Macalintal explained that these “wet ballots and damaged ballot boxes were already in existence during the delivery to the Honorable Tribunal.”
Macalintal, who is a noted election lawyer, emphasized that Robredo “has been blamed without any just cause.”