THE legal team of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to furnish them with the results of the decryption of the supposedly “unused” SD cards found to have data during the stripping of voting equipment used in the May elections.
In a six-page manifestation, George Erwin Garcia, counsel of Marcos, said the fact that many of the supposedly “unused” SD cards were found to have data during the stripping of 1,356 units of contingency vote counting machines (VCMs) bolstered their position that mere physical examination was not enough to prove that they were not used in the last elections.
“With all due respect, the presence of data stored in the SD cards, which were retrieved from the 1,356 units of contingency VCMs, bolsters the position of protestant Marcos that the mere physical examination of the subject VCMs, boxes, seals, stickers and SD cards is indeed inadequate to prove that the same were not used in the 9 May 2016 Elections,” Garcia said in the manifestation.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had conducted the stripping activities after unilaterally deciding to release 1,356 VCMs to Smartmatic, claiming they were not covered by a tribunal order to preserve all election equipment in relation to Marcos’ electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.
However, it was later discovered that many of SD cards in the supposedly “unused” VCMs were found to contain data during the stripping activities conducted by the poll body and Smartmatic, the Marcos camp said.
Garcia asked for a copy of the results of the decryption of the SD cards found to contain data.
“It is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Tribunal to direct the Comelec to furnish the protestant and the other interested parties in this case with … the results of the decryption of the SD cards from 1,356 units of contingency VCMS, which were found to contain data during the said closure/stripping activities,” Garcia said.
Garcia informed the tribunal that the Marcos camp did not take part in the stripping activities conducted on October 26 and November 2 because it was their position that the Comelec should have first secured the tribunal’s approval.
He said the existence of a precautionary protective order (PPO), which enjoins Comelec to preserve all election materials used in the last elections, precluded the poll body from conducting the stripping activity without court authority.
“The objection of protestant Marcos was based on his position that the 1,356 units of contingency VCMs were covered by the PPO dated 12 July 2016, and that this Honorable Tribunal has not issued any explicit approval to the closure/stripping activities,” Garcia said.
Even with the subsequent approval of the tribunal to conduct the stripping activities, Garcia said the Marcos camp would still question the propriety and legitimacy of the stripping activity.
“On this score, and in order to guide protestant Marcos on the appropriate course of action to remedy his precarious situation, he would like to request this Honorable Tribunal to direct the Comelec to furnish him and the other interested parties in this case with copies of the Minutes of the Proceedings and/or Transcript of Stenographic Notes taken during the closure/stripping activities conducted on 26 October 2016 and 02 November 2016,” Garcia said.