MANILA - The Commission on Elections is probing the disposal of training ballots used in Manila at a site in Cavite as these should have been kept by teachers who served as electoral board members, an official said Sunday.
“Inaalam na lang namin bakit nadala ng F2 Logistics, ‘yung aming provider, mula sa Tondo papunta sa Cavité, at bakit andun lang sa isang tabi,” Commissioner George Garcia said in an interview on ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo as he assured the documents were not ballots used on May 9.
(We’re just finding out why F2 Logistics, our provider, also brought those items from Tondo to Cavite, and why it was dumped there.)
Garcia said the election officer of Manila City has explained that the items found to have been discarded in Amadeo were ballots used during the training, and final testing and sealing process ahead of the actual voting day.
The ballots used by voters on May 9 are “properly accounted” for at the Manila City Treasurer’s Office as these will be used in case of electoral protests, he added.
Training ballots used by teachers during their preparation are not collected by the Comelec anymore, Garcia said.
“‘Yung mismong pang-training na ginagamit, yung pang-final testing and sealing natin, ‘yan ay dapat nasa mga guro kasi remember, ‘yung final sealing and testing ay ginagawa sa mga mismong presinto,” the Comelec official said.
(Ballots used during the training and final sealing and testing should be in the custody of teachers because, remember, the final sealing and testing is being done in precincts.)
“Therefore, dapat nasa electoral boards natin. Pinagtatakhan natin, bakit napunta sa mismong F2 Logistics, samantalang dapat nasa bawat presinto, kung hindi man, nasa opisina ng principal pagkatapos gamitin yung balota na ‘yan.”
(Therefore, these should be in the custody of our electoral boards. We’re wondering why these fell into the hands of F2 Logistics when these should be in the precincts, or if not, in the principal’s office after they were used.)
Garcia refused to say who should be held liable so as not to preempt the investigation, although he noted that the custodians of those documented should be identified and asked to explain why those were passed on to the logistics provider.
“Nakikita ko yung chain of custody. Diyan natin madaling ma-pinpoint kung sino ang may liability. But in the meantime, ayaw muna nating i-preempt ang ginagawang imbestigasyon, lalong lalo na nung… sa Administrative Services Department namin,” he said.
(I can already see the chain of custody. That's where we can easily pinpoint who has the liability. But in the meantime, we don't want to preempt the ongoing investigation, especially by our Administrative Services Department.)
The F2 Logistics is also being asked to explain, to be able to find out if they picked up the document and dropped off those, he added.
Garcia said the Comelec, which had said it prepared 67,442,616 ballots required for the May 9 elections, regards the issue as a serious one.
This year's national and local elections posted a voter turnout of 83.11 percent, Comelec Chairman Saidamen Pangarungan has said.