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Bongbong’s lawyer wants proof of Comelec briefing about squares on ballot images

A lawyer for former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. again sent a challenge to Vice President Leni Robredo's legal defender, this time asking him to prove that the Commission on Elections had briefed them on the presence of what Marcos says are questionable markings on ballot images.

Marcos lawyer Vic Rodriguez dared Robredo's legal counsel, Romulo Macalintal, to "produce any briefing made by the Comelec on the presence of the squares [markings] because I have yet to meet anyone—be it a political party of candidate or Information Technology Expert—who had ever been informed of the existence of squares on the ballot images."

"Either Atty. Macalintal is just being consistently untrue or he had a special briefing from Comelec exclusively for the then ruling Liberal Party," Rodriguez said in a statement sent to the media on Tuesday afternoon.

He insisted that the square markings are "an unlawful insertion and alteration of the digital image."

The squares, he said, "should not be there because during the source code review, no boxes were shown."

"If they did the insertion clandestinely, we wonder what other alterations they did to alter the digital results?" he said.

Macalintal, on the other hand, said the square markings were discussed by the Comelec in a briefing attended by "different political parties" before the May 2016 election.

Rodriguez was reacting to a statement made by Macalintal on Tuesday morning that the square markings in question were a "special feature" of the 2016 election which showed which votes met the "25-percent threshold" requirement and were subsequently counted by the vote-counting machine.

Rodriguez called this a "vain attempt" at explaining the markings, which his client Marcos has earlier alleged pointed to electoral cheating on the part of Robredo.

"Let me remind him that when Senator Marcos first came out and presented the squares in the ballot images, he discredited it and claimed that those were fraudulent, tampered and manipulated pieces of evidence," he said.

"Now Atty. Macalintal appears to be lawyering for the Comelec by claiming that the squares are a new feature and that the parties were informed of the presence of the squares in the ballot images," he added.

Rodriguez also questioned Macalintal's expressed confidence that the recount will not change election results, saying Macalintal had previously represented election protestants.

"By asserting that the recount will not change the results of the elections, is Atty. Macalintal now saying that he misled these clients of his into filing frivolous and baseless protests?" he said in the statement.

Marcos lost to Robredo in the May 2016 election by 263,473 votes.

The ballot recount in relation with Marcos' poll protest is slated to begin on March 19. — BM, GMA News