Missing or misinformed? Robredo, Marcos lawyers disagree on audit logs

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 03 2018 10:53 AM | Updated as of Jan 09 2019 09:49 PM

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MANILA (UPDATE) - Should audit logs be inside or outside ballot boxes in the 2016 elections? 

Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. disagreed on that point after the Marcos camp cited missing audit logs as proof of electoral cheating in the 2016 polls. 

Marcos' camp claimed audit logs from 38 of the 42 precincts in Bato, Camarines Sur -- a stronghold of Robredo from where the first batch of ballots opened during Monday's recount came -- were "missing" and that this could mean election fraud.

Vic Rodriguez, lawyer and spokesperson for the former senator, said the audit logs should have been inside the ballot boxes because these would show that the election inspectors "accessed using their individual pin codes."

"That is an essential, if not indispensable part in determining the integrity of the vote counting machine, in the integrity of what transpired, what took place before the opening of the precinct, during the opening of the precinct, and all the way after its closing," he told ANC's Headstart.

'HINDI KAYO NAGBABASA'

Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal, however, said a resolution by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) released months before the 2016 elections directed the board of election inspectors to deliver the audit logs to the election officer.

"Magpaumanhin na kayo sapagkat kasinungalingan ang sinasabi ninyo na 'yun ay sign ng pandaraya. Hindi ho sign ng pandaraya 'yun. 'Yun ay sign na di kayo nagbabasa ng mga resolution ng Comelec at ngayon ay sinisisi niyo na naman ang Comelec dahil kayo ay may sariling kapabayaan," he said.

Rodriguez said their camp has no plans to seek the Comelec's help in retrieving these logs and would leave it to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal if it would want to have these subpoenaed.

BALLOTS ARE STILL BEST EVIDENCE

Speaking to ANC, former Comelec Commissioner Gregorio Larrazabal explained that ballots are still the primary evidence in an election protest and that audit logs are just supplemental evidence.

"The audit logs are just there to provide additional information to the activities that happened during election day in that particular cluster precinct," he said on Tuesday.

"The audit log is just a recording of what happened. It's not the main evidence that can be used in an election protest," he added.

Comelec Spokesperson James Jimenez meanwhile said the poll body takes Marcos' allegations seriously and would investigate the matter.

"We will be looking into these claims closely, taking into account, the published General Instructions governing the conduct of the 2016 National and Local Elections," Jimenez said on Tuesday.

Marcos had claimed "massive cheating" caused him to lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race by some 263,473 votes. 

The Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, began its vote recount on Tuesday.