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Robredo camp urges PET, Comelec to probe Bongbong’s claim of questionable ballot images

The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday shrugged off the claim of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. that cheating took place in the 2016 election based on questionable marks in some ballot images.

Robredo’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal, said Marcos’ claim that his camp has uncovered “solid and incontrovertible evidence of massive fraud that transpired in the 2016 elections” based on their own copies of ballot images from the pilot provinces of Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental, was “highly ridiculous if not outright frivolous.”

On Monday, Marcos said copies of ballot images from Barangay Salvacion in Tigaon, Camarines Sur and barangays Poblacion and Jilocon in Negros Oriental show that votes for him were not counted and considered undervotes.

Undervotes are ballots not counted either because the voter did not vote for a certain position or there were unclear markings in the ballot.

Marcos said that in some of the ballot images, even though two or more candidates were shaded in the vice presidential race, the votes still went for Robredo instead of being declared overvotes.

Marcos also questioned the presence of square shapes in the ballot images instead of the oval shapes which voters shaded for their choice of candidates.

“If Marcos has in his possession the said ‘hundreds upon hundreds’ of ballot images which are radically different from the ballot images generated from the secure digital (SD) cards, then he should be investigated by the Commission on Elections and/or the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to determine the source of such highly questionable documents,” Macalintal said.

“If indeed, ‘hundreds upon hundreds’ of said ballots were cast during the election, then there would have been a pandemonium of sort in the precincts where such ballots were cast as the Comelec would have been swamped by hundreds upon hundreds of complaints from the candidates, their watchers, the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting and other accredited arms of the Comelec, media and other local and foreign observers,” he added.

If these ballots were used during the said election, Marcos’ poll watchers and supporters should have noticed the absence of the ovals opposite the names of the candidates and should have raised their protest before the Boards of Election Inspectors, according to Macalintal.

Fabricated, manufactured

Macalintal said the best evidence to prove if ‘hundreds upon hundreds’ of ballots contained the questionable features raised by Marcos are the copies in the custody of the PET “and not the self-serving copies” of the former senator.

“If Marcos’ ballot images do not tally with the ballot images in the custody of the PET, then those in Marcos’ possession are clearly fabricated, manufactured or tampered with to suit his political propaganda,” he said.

Robredo’s camp also dismissed Marcos’ claim that it colluded with the Comelec and poll technology provider Smartmatic to ensure her victory.

“If laughter is the best medicine, then this is the best medicine for us,” Macalintal said.

Macalintal clarified that they have yet to secure soft copies of the ballot images and that Robredo has not filed any motion with the PET to delay or stop the recount.

“We challenge Marcos to immediately proceed with the recount of his protested ballots instead of airing these baseless and frivolous accusations intended to destroy the integrity of the past election for his own personal benefit,” the veteran election lawyer said.

Marcos had earlier challenged Robredo to withdraw her pending motions to hasten the resolution of the election protest. —ALG, GMA News