THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS
Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to order the decryption and printing of ballot images from the clustered precincts of the 30 contested provinces to speed up his election protest. Marcos’ counsel, George Erwin Garcia, in a seven- page motion, moved to decrypt and print the ballot image from the Secure Digital (SD) cards and/or data storage devices from each of the 36,465 protested clustered precincts in the contested areas ahead of the scheduled preliminary conference on June 21, 2017 to hasten the process. Garcia explained that the decryption and printing may be ordered by the Tribunal before the scheduled preliminary conference since the 2010 PET Rules allows any course of action that will expedite the proceedings. “Rule 29(a) of the 2010 PET Rules enumerated the items to be considered during the preliminary conference, which includes, among others, such other matters that may aid in the prompt disposition of the election protest,” Garcia said. He added that such procedure will also “assist in the preparation for the recount proceedings and the presentation of evidence for the protest.” The contested areas of the proposed decryption and printing of ballot images includes the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Masbate, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, Bukidnon, Iloilo, Bohol, Quezon, Batangas, Western Samar, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, Palawan, Albay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Pangasinan and Isabela; cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Cebu, Lapu- Lapu and Zamboanga; and the 2nd District of Northern Samar. Garcia said the decryption and printing of the ballot images will be conducted and supervised by the Election Records and Statistics Departments (ERSD) of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). But he was quick to note the motion is without prejudice to the conduct of the Judicial Recount/Revision, Technical Examination and Forensic Investigation of the paper ballots and/or the ballot images, voter’s receipts, election returns, audit logs, transmission logs, voters lists, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List (EDCVL), and voters registration records (VRRs) and other paraphernalia used in the May 2016 elections. The former Senator had earlier asked the PET to assign three hearing officers who will hear the three main issues in his election protest to fasttrack the much-delayed proceedings. Following the 2016 National Elections, Marcos filed an election protest against Robredo as he alleged that there had been a series of frauds, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections. Marcos insisted that the alleged activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, who won the 2016 vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes, 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes. In his protest, Marcos contested results in 39,221 clustered precincts, composed of 132,446 established precincts. In response, Robredo, filed a counter- protest against Marcos where she questioned results in 8,042 clustered precincts, composed of 31,278 established precincts.