REVISORS taking part in the recount to settle an election protest in the 2016 vice presidential race have found several unused or excess ballots from a town in Camarines Sur with pre-shaded votes for Vice President Leni Robredo, insiders said Wednesday.
The discovery came during the continuation of the recount organized by the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to settle the protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Robredo.
Insiders said the questionable ballots came from Baao municipality where a couple of wet ballots were also found Tuesday.
It could not be ascertained how many pre-shaded ballots were found, sources said.
The unused or excess ballots were found among the valid ballots with the Robredo votes, they added.
The Marcos camp said the pre-shaded ballots provided further evidence of fraud in the vice presidential race.
The Robredo camp, on the other hand, questioned the information about the pre-shaded ballots.
“These could be rejected ballots that were mistakenly placed inside the envelope for unused ballots. Based on experience—due to the conditions inside the precincts—mistakes happen,” said Bernadette Sardillo, one of Robredo’s lawyers.
She also questioned the leak of information from the Supreme Court.
“We find the report ridiculous since at that time, only one ballot box was opened and this report surfaced immediately. How can this be reported that quick if no telephones or any mode of outside communication are allowed inside the revision area?” she said.
Sardillo said she believed that this development could be another attempt by the Marcos camp to cast doubt on the recount process and to confuse the public.
On the first two days of the recount, six wet ballot boxes were found from Bato and Baao towns in Camarines Sur.
Marcos also questioned the missing audit logs from clustered precincts in Bato town.
He said that 38 out of 40 ballot boxes from the town in Camarines Sur—one of the three pilot provinces he identified for the recount—did not have audit logs.
On Tuesday, four of the 40 head revisors resigned from their duties only a day after the start on the recount.
The PET has not officially confirmed any of these reports as the proceedings are supposed to be confidential.
The Robredo camp expressed concern when one of the revision committees denied her claim to four ballots containing votes in her favor but which were found inside the envelope for unused ballots.
Robredo through her lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Sardillo filed a motion of manifestation, informing the PET that a revision committee prohibited them from claiming the four ballots from the Baao, Camarines Sur because there was no space in the revision report provided by the PET.
Macalintal said that by the time the Supreme Court is able to make any rulings on the issue, the revision in the clustered precinct will have already ended.
This would mean that “these four ballots will now be treated as uncontested ballots to the prejudice of Robredo,” Macaintal said.
Robredo “has been deprived of her right to register her claims,” he added.
He said the vice president was prohibited from making any manifestation in the revision report.
But Macalintal said the purpose of the revision committees would not be fulfilled if none of the parties were allowed to register their claims and objections before the head revisors from the Supreme Court.
“If incidents such as this would need to be submitted to the PET for proper ruling, then, the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots should be conducted before all the members present to expedite the proceedings,” he said.