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Comelec says alleged pre-shading of ballots in Dubai considered as ‘fake news’ sans official report

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will consider the claim on alleged pre-shading of ballots in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as fake news until it has received reports from officials, poll commissioner George Garcia said on Tuesday.

“Wala pa pong pinapadala sa amin na reports ang atin pong embahada ng Dubai. Hinihintay nga po namin pero wala pong ganun. In the meantime, tine-treat din natin ‘yan as fake news,” poll commissioner George Garcia said in a Super Radyo dzBB interview.

(We haven’t received any reports yet from the our embassy in Dubai. We are waiting for it, but we have none so far. In the meantime, we are treating it as fake news.)

Garcia made the remark following a post circulating on social media about a supposed pre-shaded ballot found by a voter on Sunday, April 10, the first day of overseas voting for Eleksyon 2022.

The Philippine Consulate General’s Office (PCGO) in Dubai has refuted the reports, stressing that poll watchers from at least five different political parties present during the entire voting period likewise witnessed or reported no irregularity.

“Maganda rin po na makasama ‘yan sa aming i-imbestigahan (it would be good for us to also investigate such incident),” Garcia said.

The Philippine Embassy in Singapore has also denied intentionally handing out pre-shaded ballots to Filipino voters during the start of the overseas voting.

The Embassy, however, acknowledged “an isolated incident” in which it “inadvertently” and “unintentionally” gave out a spoiled ballot that had been from the voting on April 10, the first day of overseas voting for the 2022 elections.

Garcia said that such spoiled ballots are normally placed in an envelope specifically for them but due to “human error,” it might have been mixed with the other good ballots.

“‘Yung electoral board, kung hindi kasalanan ng botante ang pagkakasira o ‘yung insidente, bibigyan siya ng kapalit. Pero kung siya naman ang may kasalanan, hindi siya bibigyan ng kapalit,” he added.

(If the voter was not at fault, the electoral board will gim him/her another ballot. However, if the voter was at fault, he/she will not be given another ballot.)

Meanwhile, in Rome, Italy, an overseas Filipina claimed on Monday that several overseas voters were not given a proper place inside the Philippine Embassy to fill out their ballots and even had to do so on the sidewalk of a hospital across the Embassy.

In response to this, Comelec Commissioner Marlon Casquejo said they would verify the claims first with the Philippine Embassy in Rome and advise election officers there to provide a secure space for the completion and casting of election ballots.

Filipino voters who applied for the overseas voting option can cast their ballots until May 9, 2022, or election day in the Philippines.—AOL, GMA News