MANILA - Some ballots used in the 2016 elections in the home province of Vice President Leni Robredo were doused recently while several audit logs disappeared, former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. said Monday.
Marcos made the statement as the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, began a manual recount of votes that he had sought to contest after his loss to Robredo in the vice presidential race.
Marcos said the recount started with votes from Bato, Camarines Sur, where all ballots from 4 of the total 42 voting precincts were discovered to have gotten wet recently, making them "illegible."
"They've only been recently wet. If they were wet during election day, siguro natuyo na iyun -- hindi naman siguro 2 years na basa iyun. May nagbasa," Marcos told reporters.
(If they were wet during election day, they would have been dry by now -- they could not be damp for 2 years. Someone drenched them.)
Robredo was representative of Camarines Sur from 2013 to 2016.
Thirty-eight precincts in Bato town also had missing audit logs, which would have shown the time that the votes were transmitted, said Marcos.
"Clearly, somebody, binuksan ang ballot box, kinuha ang audit log bago ini-seal ulit," he alleged.
(Clearly, somebody opened the ballot box, took the audit log and re-sealed it.)
"We're going to have to find a way to recover those audit logs somehow... Baka naman (perhaps) it's possible that those audit logs are still in the database of some other computer," he added.
POLL FRAUD IS 'FAKE NEWS' - VP CAMP
Robredo's camp, however, branded Marcos' allegation as "fake news."
"Iyung sinasabi ni Mr. Marcos na anomaly, fake news iyun -- hindi totoo," the Vice President's lawyer Romulo Macalintal told reporters.
(The statement of Mr. Marcos about the alleged anomaly is fake news, false.)
The audit logs do not contain a tally of votes, which is the subject of the recount, thus making their disappearance a "technical defect" that "can never affect the genuineness and accuracy of the count," he said.
Macalintal added that ballots in previous elections were often damaged by typhoons and floods, but this is not a cause for concern because the automated poll system stores back-up ballot images.
"Laging sinasabi ng natalo na sila ay nadaya. Dapat palitan na natin ang konsepto na ito... Hindi ba puwedeng mangyari na iyung nanalo ang siyang nadaya at iyung mandaraya, hindi sapat ang kaniyang nagawa para ma-overcome ang vote lead ng nanalo?" Macalintal said.
(The loser would always claim that he was cheated. We should change this concept. Is it not possible that the winner was the victim of cheating and the cheater only failed to overcome the vote lead of the winner?)
Marcos, 60, had claimed "massive cheating" caused him to lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race by some 260,000 votes.
Victory in Marcos' poll protest would cement his family's remarkable political comeback, 31 years after a "People Power" revolution saw millions of people take to the streets to end his father's 20-year rule.