MANILA - The camp of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos has listed 362 witnesses in his preliminary conference brief filed at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to bolster his claim of victory in the May 2016 vice-presidential race.
Marcos' proposed witnesses include election officers, Smartmatic-Total Information Management (Smartmatic-TIM) personnel, and individuals who would testify on "electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities" that allegedly swung results to favor the declared winner, Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos, through counsel, submitted on Friday his 96-page brief to the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, ahead of the July 11 preliminary conference. The proceedings are intended to limit the scope and issues of the poll protest case, and identify which witnesses may testify.
Marcos' list of witnesses include Commission on Elections (Comelec) officers and local officers to identify and authenticate, among others, the paper ballots and/or ballot images, voter's receipts, election returns, audit logs, transmission logs, lists of voters and voting records, books of voters, and other relevant poll documents and paraphernalia.
Some witnesses were proposed to testify "that Smartmatic personnel introduced a new program into the Transparency Server while transmission of results was going on, without explicit knowledge, much less explicit consent of the COMELEC En Banc nor by any of its commissioners.
Some others were identified to testify "on the existence and operation of an intermediary/queue server during the 2016 Elections;" "that the existence and operation of an intermediary/queue server was concealed from the voting public, all the candidates and political parties;" "that the said intermediary/queue server and the program that was used to run it were not subjected to any source code review;" "that all transmissions from the [vote counting machines] and to and from the different [central canvassing system] machines were all coursed through the intermediary/queue server;" and "[t]o testify that the AES (automated election system) supplied by Smartmatic was a vulnerable system."
Several of Marcos' proposed witnesses were also identified "[t]o testify on the widespread presence of terrorism, violence, threats, coercion, force, intimidation, the proliferation and batch-feeding of pre-shaded ballots and the massive substitution of voters" in several provinces.
On top of the listed witnesses, Marcos' camp said it would like to reserve the presentation of "handwriting, technology, and other technical experts, and forensic investigators to testify on the result of the technical examination and forensic investigation" of various election documents, equipment and storage devices from 2,756 protested clustered precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan.
These include "paper ballots and/or the ballot images, voter's receipts, election returns (ERs), audit logs, transmission logs, the lists of voters, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter's List (EDCVL), and voters registration records (VRRs), the books of voters and other pertinent election documents and/or paraphernalia used in the elections, as well as the automated election equipment and records such as the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs), Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images."
Some of the listed witnesses may be considered "hostile witnesses," according to Marcos' spokesman Vic Rodriguez.
It would be up to the PET to approve in full or in part Marcos' proposed list.
PET PROCEEDINGS SHOULD BE EXPEDITED
The margin of votes between Robredo and Marcos was a mere 263,473 votes, making it the tightest vice-presidential contest in recent history.
Marcos' protest covers 36,465 clustered precincts in Cebu province, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Masbate, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Iloilo province, Iloilo City, Bohol, Quezon province, Batangas, Western Samar, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, 2nd District of Northern Samar, Palawan, Albay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Pangasinan, Isabela, Bacolod City, and Zamboanga City.
To expedite the proceedings, Marcos asked that an order be issued to direct the collection, retrieval, transport and delivery of all ballot boxes containing the ballots and other election paraphernalia, lists of voters, voters registration records, audit logs, transmission logs and files, and all other documents or paraphernalia used in the polls.
He also urged the creation of recount/revision committees for the manual counts and judicial revision of the paper ballots and/or ballot images, as well as an examination, verification, and analysis of the voter's receipts, ERs, audit logs, transmission logs, the lists of voters, particularly the EDCVL, and VRRs, the books of voters and other pertinent election documents and/or paraphernalia used in the elections, as well as the automated election equipment and records such as the VCMs, CCS units, SD cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images in all 36,465 protested clustered precincts.
Marcos asked the PET to grant his motion for the immediate decryption and printing of the ballot images from the relevant SD cards and/or other data storage devices in each of the protested precincts.
PET CONSTITUTES PANEL OF 3 HEARING COMMISSIONERS
In a resolution issued on June 6 and released to the media only on Friday, the PET ordered the creation of a panel of three hearing commissioners under its control and supervision "to aid the tribunal in the just and expeditious disposition" of Marcos' protest and Robredo's counter-protest.
The appointed commissioners are retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Jose Vitug, chairperson; and lawyers Angelito C. Imperio and Irene Ragodon-Guevarra, members.
"The commissioners shall decide unanimously to every extent possible, provided that in the event of failure to reach a unanimous decision, the majority decision shall prevail," the resolution read.
The chairperson will receive P15,000 per day of hearing and/or service while the members will receive P10,000 per day of hearing and/or service.