Robredo asks PET to use decrypted images of 'compromised' ballots

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 14 2018 01:56 PM | Updated as of Aug 14 2018 05:17 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) - Vice President Leni Robredo urged the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on Tuesday to proceed with the use of decrypted ballot images in the manual recount of votes in the poll protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. 

Robredo said the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, should deny Marcos’ bid to halt the use of the decrypted ballot images in 25 clustered precincts in Iloilo and Camarines Sur where the original paper ballots were found wet or damaged. 

The two provinces, along with Negros Oriental - known bailiwicks of Robredo - are the three pilot provinces of Marcos’ protest. 

Robredo argued that Marcos failed to support his claim that the decrypted images are compromised.

“Marcos has not filed any pleading, motion or submitted any evidence to the [PET] to substantiate his allegations that the decrypted ballot images have been compromised," Robredo's camp said in a 17-page counter-manifestation and opposition.

She said the decrypted ballot images "will merely confirm the results as reflected in the Election Returns, Statement of Votes by Precinct, the Municipal Certificate of Canvass and the Provincial Certificate of Canvass."

“Clearly, aside from his self-serving and unsubstantiated allegations, there is no truth to the misleading assertions of protestant Marcos on the lack of integrity of the decrypted ballot images,” the pleading stated. 

It further pointed out that Marcos “is now assailing the integrity of his own evidence… [n]ow that the decrypted ballot images will confirm the victory of protestee Robredo and his defeat.”

The PET ordered its revision committees to use the decrypted images in the recount following receipt of incident reports on the state of the paper ballots.

Robredo's counsel Emilio Marañon also refuted Marcos’ allegation that Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa, the justice handling the Marcos-Robredo poll contest, is guilty of “evident bias and manifest partiality.”

“Walang kinikilingan si Justice Caguioa (Justice Caguioa is not biased),” Marañon told members of the media. 

He pointed out that several of Caguioa's rulings have been adverse to Robredo, including his stand against her bid to lower to 25 percent the PET's current 50-percent threshold percentage in the appreciation of shaded ovals on the ballots.

Marcos questioned Robredo's victory in the 2016 vice-presidential race, alleging "massive cheating." He lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, the closest vice presidential race in recent memory. 

He said Caguioa's wife, Pier Angela, is an ardent Robredo supporter who actively campaigned for the vice president in the 2016 elections and "continued to work for her in this case."

The former senator has since written the PET to ask Caguioa to inhibit from the case.