Vice President Leni Robredo has backed the recommendation of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to dispose all poll machines despite the pending election protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
Robredo has submitted to the Supreme Court (SC) her comment on the request of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to push through with the disposal of the poll equipment. The SC is sitting as the PET.
She explained that disposal of the machines would have no effect on the preliminary precaution order (PPO) issued by the PET to secure the data of the 2016 polls as requested by Marcos.
“I don’t see any anomaly with the closure or stripping of some VCMs (vote counting machines), which the Comelec already started before it received the PPO from the PET,” read her comment which was written entirely in Filipino.
“It is clear under relevant laws and procedures on election protest that in case of any anomaly in the ballots, including alteration of contents, the secure digital cards may be reprinted anytime for verification of the truthful contents of a ballot,” she added.
The Vice President agreed with Comelec in that additional expenses would be incurred if the machines remain in its possession until December 1, 2016 when they are considered sold from Smartmatic. Smartmatic has been leasing the equipment to the poll body.
To ease the Comelec’s burden, Robredo said Marcos might as well shoulder the costs instead considering that he filed the election protest.
Marcos lost to Robredo by less than 300,000 votes last May. He claimed that he was cheated.