MANILA (UPDATE) – A Commission on Elections (Comelec) official on Wednesday said the ballots seen being torn in a now-viral video were not used in the May 9 elections.
These were mock ballots used in preparation for polls, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said.
“Yun pong balotang pinakita, napakalabo pa, may pinakita may posisyon may mga shade, tingnan niyo po ah. Pero lumayo yung camera, habang nakalayo siya, tapos pinupunit, tingnan niyo po blangko yung balota,” he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
“Yun po’y mga fake na balota, na pupuwede pong ginamit yan para doon sa mga pagte-train, tine-train yung mga botante nila kung paano mag-shade,” added the official.
(The ballots shown were blurry, it was also shown that some positions were shaded. But the camera panned out, while it was zooming out the ballots were torn up, these were blank ballots. These are fake ballots, which may have been used to train voters on how to shade.)
Garcia said political parties typically produce mock ballots to teach supporters how to properly cast their vote.
“Tingnan niyo po, yung pong mga may kopya ng video na 'yon. Blangko po yung mga balota na ‘yan-- habang pinupunit, ganoon po kalaki yung blangko. Therefore hindi po siya tunay na mga balota.”
(Those who have copies of that video, look at it. Those ballots were blank, the blank space was huge. Therefore, these are not real ballots.)
But in a press conference hours later, Comelec acting spokesman John Rex Laudiangco said the incident "will be part of the agenda of the CBFSC (Committee on the Ban on Firearms and Security Concerns)."
"In fact, the operations group of the Comelec is already there at the command center and they are digging into this issue," he said.
In the same press briefing, Garcia said "definitely we will go deeper into these cases."
He added that the National Bureau of Investigation will be asked to verify the alleged incident and where exactly it happened.
Reports of faulty vote-counting machines (VCMs), power outages, and other issues marred Monday's elections, the first since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Comelec said the impact of defective VCMs was "not significant" compared to the glitches encountered in previous elections.