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PH envoy to Canada denies pre-shaded ballot claim

Rowena Papasin | TFC News Vancouver

Posted at Apr 28 2022 08:42 AM

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Philippine Ambassador to Canada Rodolfo Robles ordered an investigation into the alleged mailing of a pre-shaded ballot in Vancouver.

In an interview on TeleRadyo, Robles confirmed that a letter was sent to the consulate general's office in Vancouver, complaining about the alleged pre-shaded ballot.

But upon investigation, they found that the ballot that was supposedly received on April 13 had just been mailed on the afternoon of that same day.

"Hindi po puwedeng matanggap on the same day especially alas kuwatro na ng hapon po. So sa akin pong imbestigasyon, I consider it a poison pill. Nakakasira sa sistema ng botohan," Robles said.

(It is not possible to receive this on the same day especially since it was already 4 pm. So from my investigation, I consider it a poison pill. It destroys the electoral system.)

The Vancouver consulate has already denied the alleged pre-shaded ballot incident. Still, Robles said they have set up a process so that complaints like these can be immediately addressed and investigated. He challenged anyone who has proof of ballot-tampering to file a case against them.

"Kung talagang merong kalokohan o fraudulent activities ay mabuti po'y maghabla na sila at nang malaman ang katotohanan. Hinahamon na po namin silang maghabla para malaman kung sino ang mali at sinong tama."

(If there are really fraudulent activities, it’s best to file charges so we’ll know the truth. I challenge them to file charges so that we’ll know who’s wrong and who’s right.)

At the latest ballot-feeding in Vancouver on Monday, two poll watchers who observed the process noted that they did not see anything unusual occurring during the feed.

"I think by this point in time, with the advent of technology, you can easily be detected, you can easily be discovered. I don’t think meron pa ring mga ganong unusual but we still have to be vigilant," Tony Ortega said.

(I don’t think we’ll still see anything unusual but we still have to be vigilant.)

For Joseph Manubag, the ballot feeding had no anomalies.

"So far it’s good... As what I've observed, ok naman, straightforward. The staff are accommodating, and there’s nothing malicious about what they’re doing," Manubag said.

Both Manubag and Ortega have also observed a higher volume of  mailed ballots now compared to the previous schedules of feeding. Ortega called on voters who have not yet  received their ballots to get in touch with the consulate immediately.

"Kung hindi pa nila natanggap yung balota nila, call the consulate office. I picked up personally here, dinala ko rin dito personally, mas madali," Ortega shared.

(If they still have not received their ballots, they should call the consulate office. I picked up personally here, I also brought it here personally so that it will be faster.)

Meanwhile, Vancouver’s return-to sender election packets have grown to 204 as of April 25.

As election day draws near, Consul General Maria Andrelita Austria also reminded voters not to post their completed ballots on social media as this is considered an election offense. She added that ballots will be considered invalid if they have no paper seal, don't have a name, have the wrong ballot ID, and if they have other markings. No ballots will be accepted after the close of elections.