The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comply with its mandate in submitting the itemized costs it may be required to pay under automated elections in connection with an election protest filed against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., who had accused Robredo of “massive fraud.”
In a resolution, the High Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal required the Comelec to make a report on the actual amount it may incur and pay for election machines that will be used in recount of votes for Marcos and Robredo in the May 2016 elections .
“The tribunal resolves… [to]direct the Comelec to comply with the tribunal’s resolution dated November 8, 2016 on the itemized cost[s]it may be required to pay under the Automated Election System contract, and whether Smartmatic TIM Inc. has made any communication to it in enforcing Article 6.9 of the AES contract,” the resolution read.
The SC has set a preliminary conference on the recount of the votes on June 21.
Robredo has asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to dismiss a motion of Marcos seeking to junk her counter-protest in relation to the 2016 polls.
Marcos went to the electoral tribunal because Robredo initially failed to pay the first installment of the required fee for her counter-protest.
Rule 34 of the 2010 Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal gives the tribunal the power “to dismiss the protest or counter-protest or take such action as it may deem equitable under the circumstances.”
Robredo had filed a motion for reconsideration of her refusal to pay cash deposit for the counter-protest but it was rejected by the electoral tribunal.
In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts.
He prayed for manual count and judicial revision in 36,465 precincts and annulment of election results in 2,756 precincts.
Comelec data showed that the 39,221 clustered precincts are composed of 132,446 precincts.
The SC recently ordered preservation of the “automated election equipment and records such as Vote Counting Machines [VCMs], Consolidation and Canvass System [CCS] units, Secure Digital [SD] cards [main and back-up]and the other data storage devices in all of the ninety two thousand five hundred nine (92,509) clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from the tribunal.”
Marcos, who lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, accused her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as preshading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning VCMs and “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of Vice President.