The Supreme Court (SC) has granted a plea of Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo that she be provided copies of ballot images in connection with a poll protest over the vice presidential race in the May 2016 elections even if she did not help shoulder expenses for production of such images.
In a three-page resolution promulgated November 7 that was released to the media only recently, the SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, approved Robredo’s request to be furnished soft copies of ballots and reports from the decrypted secure digital (SD) cards from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros.
Robredo said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) has given assurance to the parties during the start of the decryption process on October 23 that it will provide soft copies provided that the electoral tribunal will give its consent.
Marcos has manifested his objection before the tribunal and asked to deny Robredo’s plea since she did not contribute any share in the expenses and supplies for the production of the ballot images.
“Since Robredo did not contribute any share in the expenses and supplies for this undertaking, she should not be allowed by this honorable tribunal to obtain the soft [and even printed]copies of the decrypted images of the ballots, election returns, audit logs and other relevant documents for ALL the protested clustered precincts of the pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental used during the last 9 May 2016 national and local elections,” he said.
Marcos added that he alone shouldered P2,974,075 for the undertaking.
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has ordered the decryption of ballots despite alleged delaying tactics and strong resistance of the Robredo camp.
It gave the green light for the Comelec to decrypt and print the ballot images and other data found in the SD cards in its main office in Intramuros, Manila, on October 23.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 elections.
He would later accuse her of “massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities” such as preshading of ballots, preloaded SD cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of Vice President.