OFFICIALS taking part in the recount of votes cast in the vice presidential race on Friday found several clustered precincts that had more ballots than actual voters, a source from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal said Friday.
The recount conducted by the Supreme Court—sitting as the PET—seeks to settle the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
“There was a precinct in Bato in Camarines Sur that registered the number of those who actually voted at 348 but the number of valid votes found for revision was 376 or an excess of 28 votes in one precinct alone. How did that happen? Where did the 28 votes come from?” the PET insider said.
The source said all the additional 28 votes were for Leni Robredo.
Requesting anonymity, the source said the presence of the excess ballots for Robredo has further bolstered suspicion of vote manipulation in the light of the findings made Wednesday that there were unused or excess ballots that were shaded for Robredo.
Marcos’ lawyer Vic Rodriguez said this bolsters their fear that vote padding marred the result of the 2016 polls for the vice presidency.
“The discovery of extra 28 votes added to Robredo in Bato, Camarines Sur and the wet ballots in several clustered precincts, together with the rest of the nation, we are convinced that more evidence of fraud, ballot box tampering and vote padding are to come out, validating our case that the 2016 election for vice president is the worst in history,” Rodriguez said.
Earliers, revisors found that several unused ballots were cut in half and shaded for Robredo, suggesting they were pre-shaded and fed into the vote-counting machines before they were cut.
Robredo got more than 660,000 votes in Camarines Sur while Marcos received only around 40,000 votes.
Earlier, Marcos also said many of the ballot boxes from Bato had contents soaked in water.
Also on Friday, Marcos lawyer Vic Rodriguez, disputed the claim of Robredo’s counsel Romulo Macalintal that the water that seeped into the ballot boxes was due to a typhoon that hit Camarines Sur in December 2016, saying if that were true, the contents would have been dry by now.
“It appears that the contents were just recently drenched in water because water was still inside the ballot boxes. If they got wet in December or four months ago, the contents should have been dried by now. It does not make sense,” Rodriguez said.
On Tuesday, the revision was delayed when four head revisors quit just one day after the start of the proceedings.
As a result, not all 40 revision committees are functioning since some of the head revisors had been made appraisers or tabulators of the recount. The situation is further confounded by the stringent requirements imposed by the PET, which requires all revisors to check the recount at least six times.
As a result, not a single town has been fully revised since revisors needed to wait for hours for their turn with the appraisers.
The revision suffered delays even before it started, being reset from Feb. 9 to March 19, then reset again to April 2 because eight revision committee heads failed to pass the psychological exam as required by PET rules.
Marcos is contesting some 39,000 precincts from 30 provinces and cities all over the country.
In the ongoing recount Marcos needs to show substantial recovery of votes from his three pilot provinces before he will be allowed to proceed to the revision of his other contested provinces.