PET moves to protect election records in tight VP race

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 02 2016 02:28 PM | Updated as of Aug 02 2016 08:22 PM

PET moves to protect election records in tight VP race 1
Bongbong Marcos and Leni Robredo

MANILA - The Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has ordered the Commission on Elections to preserve and safeguard records pertaining to the May 2016 vice-presidential race.

The PET issued a summons and granted the prayer of Ferdinand ''Bongbong'' Marcos Jr. for precautionary protection order (PPO), pursuant to PET rules.

The summons and PPO are expected to be served within today.

In his petition, Marcos asked the tribunal to issue a PPO to preserve the integrity and safety of all the ballots, ballot boxes, voters' receipts, election returns (ERs), computerized voters' list, audit logs, transmission results, log files and other documents and paraphernalia used in the May 2016 elections.

The plea was made in connection with Marcos' election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Also included in Marcos' very urgent manifestation and omnibus motion filed on Tuesday, was the same request to cover the vote counting machines (VCMs), consolidation and canvass system (CCS), digital cards and other electronic data and ballot image storage devices, and other related equipment.

The motion, which covers all functioning clustered precincts nationwide, also sought the collection, retrieval, transport, and delivery of these paraphernalia, storage devices, and equipment.

Marcos invoked Rule 36 of the PET Rules which provides for steps to be undertaken "to safeguard the integrity" of the ballots and other poll paraphernalia, data storage devices, and equipment used in the elections.

Marcos also urged the PET to issue the formal summons on Robredo.

Marcos, represented by Atty. George Erwin Garcia, filed his election protest last June 29, alleging that Robredo's proclamation as vice-president is "null and void because the [certificates of canvass] generated by the CCS are not authentic, and may not be used as basis to determine the number of votes that the candidates for vice-president received."

Marcos, who lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes, claims the vice-presidential race was marred by "massive electoral fraud, anomalies and irregularities" such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loaded Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning VCMs, and an "abnormally high" unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of VP, among others.