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Bongbong's ‘witnesses’ on-duty poll officers, not voters —lawyer

The camp of  former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday said their witnesses in their poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo were Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) on duty during the May 2016 elections.

This, his camp said, would explain why they did not list the witnesses, who hail from Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan, as registered voters.

"If truth be told, the names on our witness list were the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) who were actually on duty on election day," Marcos' spokesman and lawyer Vic Rodriguez said in a statement.

"The BEI members were named as witnesses — and not as registered voters," he added.

Rodriguez said the BEIs were physically present during the polls, they would be able to testify whether the contested ballots in the clustered ARMM precincts had been "pre-shaded" since they were "physically present" during the voting in areas where Marcos received zero votes.

Rodriguez made the clarification two days after the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo accused the former senator of lying and deception.

Last Tuesday, the vice president's camp notified the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), that Marcos had submitted names of unregistered voters from the contested precincts of Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao.

Rodriguez also slammed Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal for reportedly claiming that the former senator's lawyers were "liars."

"Atty. Romy Macalintal is at it again. This time, he’s calling us liars. According to Macalintal, we lied because the names on our witness list were not registered voters. If truth be told, the names on our witness list were the members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs) who were actually on duty on election day," Rodriguez said.

Signature discrepancies

Rodriguez released documents showing alleged "discrepancies" between some of the registered voters' signatures and those who cast their votes on election day.

"This is precisely why the Marcos camp asked for a technical examination of the election data (EDCVL) in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. All one has to do is to compare the signatures of the registered voters with the “signatures” of the actual voters to realize that something fishy happened during the May 2016 elections," Rodriguez said.

Marcos' camp had repeatedly expressed doubts on receiving zero votes from Iglesia Ni Cristo members in the contested areas.

"Now we know why BBM got zero votes in the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) bailiwicks," the lawyer said.

Former senator Marcos lost the May 2016 vice presidential race to Robredo by 263,473 votes.

In their statement, Marcos' camp claimed Robredo has repeatedly staged "publicity stunts" against them during the course of the technical examination conducted upon their bid for a recount.

"The Robredo camp keeps saying that they won the elections fair and square. If she is so confident that she won, then why does she keep blocking our efforts to submit real and incontrovertible evidence which will contradict her claim?" Rodriguez said.

"A year and a half has passed and the public is tired of Robredo’s dilatory tactics. If Robredo has nothing to hide, then she should allow us to examine the spurious signatures prevalent in Basilan, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao. If Robredo believes she truly has the people’s mandate, then she should let the recount begin. Let’s put an end to all these publicity stunts. Enough is enough," the lawyer added.

Rodriguez also asked Robredo's camp to allow the evidence to "speak for itself" and let the public decide who "the real liar" is. — MDM, GMA News