PET orders Comelec to comment on Marcos’ poll protest issues

MANILA The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) hearing the election protests of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo over the results of the 2016 vice presidential elections have asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment on points raised by Marcos.

In an eight-page resolution dated July 2 and released on Thursday, Tribunal Clerk Edgard O. Aricheta said the Supreme Court acting as PET has "direct(ed) the Comelec to submit a comment on Marcos' (claim of) non-chronological sequencing of the ballot images and the alleged excess ballot images within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice,"

In the same resolution, the PET also denied the "urgent motion to immediately resolve all pending incidents" dated June 11 filed by Robredo's lawyers.

Marcos had opposed the use of ballot images in the PET's revision proceedings claiming that they are allegedly not faithful images of the original paper ballots due to the presence of square on the shaded ovals.

Marcos added that the sequencing of the decrypted ballot images is erroneous as they are not in chronological order and that in at least clustered precinct 19 of Barangay Gata, Caramoan, Camarines Sur, there are excess ballot images.

The non-chronological sequencing of the ballot images is an indication that pre-shaded ballots were fed into the machines.

Marcos, in his omnibus motion, alleged that an election protest was filed by Abdusakur M. Tan against Mujiv S. Hataman before the Comelec and claimed that Tan informed Marcos that the Voters' Identification Division (VID) of the Comelec Election Records and Statistics Department (ERSD) conducted a technical examination of the signatures and thumbprints appearing in the Voters' Registration Records (VRRs) and compared them to those in the Election Day Computerized Voters' Lists (EDVCLs) of 508 established precincts in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao, the same provinces in Marcos' cause of action.

Marcos claims the technical examination revealed that 40,528 signatures and 3,295 thumbprints in the 508 established precincts did not match the original and genuine signatures and thumbprints in the VRRs in the three provinces and consequently concluded that the 2016 national, local and Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao elections were marked with different forms of election fraud such as massive substituted voting.

Marcos in his motions asked that the PET issue a subpoena on the Comelec ESRD to produce documents involving the technical examination conducted on the VRRs as against the EDCVLs of the 508 precincts in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan.

In her counter manifestation last January 19, Robredo's counsel said the technical examination sought by Marcos' camp cannot proceed as Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao are not included in the pilot provinces chosen by Marcos for his election protest which are Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental, and Iloilo.

To grant the technical examination would be tantamount to allowing Marcos to expand the pilot provinces in contravention of PET rules, Robredo's camp claim and pointed out that as Marcos has yet to prove any substantial recovery in the pilot provinces, it would be premature to proceed with the technical examination.

The PET resolution also directed the Comelec and the Board of Election Inspectors of Clustered Precinct No. 34, in Barangay NiAo Jesus, Bato, Camarines Sur; Clustered Precinct No. 13, Barangay Haring, Canaman, Camarines Sur; Clustered Precinct No. 27, Barangay Cubay, San Joaquin, Iloilo; Clustered Precinct No. 118, Tabuco, Naga City, Camarines Sur; and Clustered Precinct No. 68, Santiago, Iriga City, Camarines Sur "to explain and clarify, within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice, the circumstances regarding the absence of ballot images in the clustered precincts," (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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