FORMER Metro Manila Development Authority chairman Francis Tolentino on Friday claimed several ballot boxes in pilot precincts in Calbayog City, Samar contained ballots during the 2013 midterm elections.
“As per revision [there were ballots used in the] 2013 elections; we are referring to the 2016 elections. So we were questioning why some contents were those of the 2013 elections,” Tolentino, now presidential political adviser, said in an interview outside the Senate Electoral Tribunal.
The SET started the manual recount of more than 600 ballot boxes on Wednesday as part of Tolentino’s electoral protest against the victory of detained Senator Leila de Lima.
Tolentino, who ran as an independent candidate, lost to then-candidate De Lima of the Liberal Party by more than 1.2-million votes for a spot in “Magic 12” winning candidates.
Tolentino said De Lima’s lead was already doubtful since the gap between the 12th and 13th candidate was only around 40,000 votes.
Tolentino also questioned why he received zero votes in several areas of Basilan (Isabela City, Sumisip, and Tabuan-Lasa) and Maguindanao (Datu Sinsuat, Parang, and Matanog.)
“For instance in Maguindanao, province-wide I won so statistically it was improbable that there are towns where I got zero when I won in the entire province,” Tolentino said.
The former MMDA chief added no votes were tallied either for him in Turtle Island, Tawi-Tawi.
Tolentino said at least one polling precinct in Bocaue, Bulacan showed he led De Lima, who is detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center on drug charges, by at least 30 votes after the recount.
There was no immediate available comment from De Lima’s camp.
Tolentino said the government should implement a hybrid election system where the vote counting at the precinct level would be done manually.