By: Roy Bersales
THE question “Is Commission on Election (COMELEC) helping Vice-President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo to win versus former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.?” in connection with Marcos protest on the victory of Robredo in the vice-presidential fight last May 9 polls.
The question was raised without malice, but to ascertain that the Comelec officials headed by Andres Bautista is doing its job without siding to any party as the Comelec raised the total cost of Marcos’ electoral protest to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), was reminded by the Comelec that more than P2 Billion are needed in pursuing the Marcos protest.
The amount will finance the 97,366 units of vote-counting machines and the election management system and accessories that are needed in the re-counting of votes as pointed out in the lease-contract with the Smartmatic-TIM, Inc.
The Comelec showed to the high court the documents on the items about the more than P2 Billion expenses.
Marcos is firmed to pursue his electoral protest as he strongly believed that massive cheating took place that led to his defeat in the vice-presidential fight.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, according to the Comelec’s official data.
Marcos accused Robredo and the Liberal Party (LP) of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote-counting machines, and an “abnormally high” number of unaccounted votes and “undervotes.”
The PET has not yet started the re-counting of the votes since the Comelec headed by Bautista has yet to prove to the PET that already complied with its order to protect all election machines and paraphernalia.
Relatedly, the Comelec argued to the PET that it is forced to release 1,356 units of supposedly unused vote-counting machines as requested by Smartmatic because these were not covered by the Precautionary Protection Order issued by the high court.
The Marcos camp opposed Comelec’s position saying some machines had been tampered with.
But, Comelec proceeded with its decision and stripped the machines last July.
The PET’s last order was to preserve the “automated election equipment and records such as Vote Counting Machines (VCM), Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices in all of the ninety-two thousand five-hundred nine (92,509) clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the Tribunal.”