The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday told the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, of its observations during the first day of retrieval of ballot boxes in Negros Oriental in connection with the election protest filed by ex-senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In a four-page manifestation, Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s counsel, told the PET the ballot boxes from Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental were immediately loaded in the containers after inventory due to lack of space in the staging area.
He said during the loading of the ballot boxes, the representatives of both parties expressed their apprehension with the way they were being arranged in the container that might lead to damage.
“However, both parties were assured that the manner by which the ballot boxes were placed in the containers will prevent any damage during transport,” he said.
Only one damaged ballot box from Guihulngan City was turned over to the PET, “meaning that if more ballot boxes end up damaged, it happened during its transport to the PET headquarters in Manila,” the camp of Robredo said.
Macalintal cited another incident in Bindoy town, where only one damaged ballot box was accounted for during the inventory, but two more ballot boxes sustained damage during the transport to the staging area.
“Noteworthy is that the ballot boxes have been arranged in a similar manner which risks damage to the ballot boxes and the red plastic seals,” he said.
He made manifestation to preempt any malicious report that Robredo’s camp has anything to do with the damaged ballot boxes.
He lamented that Robredo’s camp had been unfairly blamed several times for the presence of wet ballots and ballot boxes by supporters of Marcos, both in social media and news reports, in Iloilo and Camarines Sur.
“This, while conveniently omitting that protestant Marcos has had representatives during the collection and retrieval of the ballot boxes in the Provinces of Camarines Sur and Iloilo,” he said.
“More importantly, that these wet ballots and damaged ballot boxes were already in existence during the delivery to the Honorable Tribunal,” he said.
Marcos, who lost in the 2016 vice presidential race, filed an electoral protest against Robredo before the PET.