THE camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to order the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to shoulder storage fees and other expenses it incurred in connection with the preservation and safekeeping of various election materials and paraphernalia used in the May 9, 2016 polls.
In his comment, Marcos through his legal counsel, George Erwin Garcia, pointed out that “the Comelec is mandated by the Constitution to act as the primary guardian of the sanctity of the ballots and other paraphernalia in the exercise of its fundamental duty to enforce and administer all laws and regulations in the conduct of the elections.”
Marcos’ appeal came in view of a letter sent by Maria Lea Alarkon, Director III, Office for Overseas Voting (OFOV) of the Comelec.
Alarkon sought payment from Marcos of their expenses for safekeeping, among others, the ballots cast overseas.
According to the former senator, he received the tribunal’s resolution requiring him to pay the same.
But Marcos claimed that an election protest is a mere incident of the conduct of the elections.
Hence, he said, it is the function of the Comelec to safeguard the integrity of the ballots and election materials.
“This is precisely why the Precautionary Protection Order [PPO] issued by the honorable tribunal in this case was directed to the Comelec and its concerned officials and employees,” Marcos noted.
“Consequently, all the costs and expenses necessary and incidental to the safekeeping of the ballot boxes and their contents and other election paraphernalia should be assumed by the Comelec.”
In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts—36,465 of which he paid for the conduct of manual count and judicial revision, while in the remaining 2,756 he prays for the annulment of election results.
Based on data, the 39,221 cluster precincts are composed of 132,446 precincts.
The Supreme Court recently ordered the preservation of the “automated election equipment and records such as the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) , 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 Maria Leonor Rodredo in the vice presidential race by 263,473 votes, accused her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning VCMs, and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of Vice President.