Wet ballots. It’s the bane of the on-going vote recount being conducted following suspicions of electoral fraud in the 2016 elections that led to the dubious “victory” of now presumptive “vice presdient” Leni Robredo. The wet ballots and missing audit logs were reported early into the initiative by the camp of former Senator Bongbong Marcos…
Ballots in four ballot boxes were wet and one had a puncture, while 38 out of 40 opened ballot boxes from Bato, Camarines Sur, had missing audit logs, the Marcos camp said.
The camp of Robredo were quick to react and, most bizarre of all, jump the gun in providing a possible explanation…
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Robredo lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the ballot box could have been exposed to a storm in Bato, Camarines Sur.
Macalintal also said the punctured ballot box found at the start of the recount could have been damaged after being thrown around by handlers in the PET warehouse.
As for the missing audit logs, the precinct boards of election inspectors might have simply forgotten to stuff them inside the ballot boxes, he said.
“Those incidents have always been happening and it won’t affect the election results because under the automated elections, we have the ballot images as reference,” Macalintal said, referring to the copies of the ballot scanned by the vote-counting machines.
Perhaps. But, really, it should be the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) or the The Supreme Court Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) who should be responding to the complaint. The statements of Robredo’s mouthpieces, just like the “support” of the Roman Catholic Church they had conscripted to their cause, are all irrelevant.
It is a habit that the Philippine Opposition led by the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) seem to be exhibiting consistently. Back in 2016 when incidents and pieces of evidence pointing to the possibility of massive fraud were being raised, the Yellowtards were then, as they are now, quick to step in and dismiss these allegations. One would think that the foundation of any democracy — the integrity of its elections — would be a paramount concern to any participating party. It seems that concern over the integrity of the 2016 elections is not something that is a cause of concern for the Yellowtards.
The fact that tainted input into the investigation could be spun either way by any or both parties in this effort seems to escape the Robredo camp. An outcome that is favourable to one could be disputed by the other (and vice versa) on these grounds. In this regard, Robredo’s mouthpieces are actually doing her a disservice by being quick to dismiss the complaints of the Marcos camp.
There should at least be an investigation to find out what got those ballots wet and what happened to those audit logs. Until then, the investigation becomes a highly-disputable one and whatever the PET rules could remain the subject of continued public distrust over the integrity of the COMELEC itself.
Rather than take positions against Marcos, Robredo and her mouthpieces should be taking positions for electoral integrity. That is the bigger issue at stake that Robredo’s small-minded handlers and supporters should step up to discussing.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.