Comelec starts decryption of ballot images in VP poll protest

Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 24 2017 01:21 PM

MANILA - The Commission on Elections has started decrypting images of ballots from vote-counting machines used in the 2016 elections for the recount in connection with former senator Bongbong Marcos' poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez said the process may take 7 months to finish as the provinces included in the recount -- Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Oriental -- amount to a total of 2.6 million voters.

He explained that vote-counting machines have a security feature that takes pictures of ballots fed into them. These images, encrypted into the memory of each machine, require decryption to download.

"The image is the most trusted of the ballot. Kasi yung voter pa lang ang humawak," said Jimenez, reiterating that the Comelec has always stood by the integrity of the May 2016 elections.

Jimenez said the Comelec is not expecting any difference in the results of the recount requested by the camp of Marcos, who lost to Robredo during the 2016 polls by just 263,473 votes.

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, junked Vice President Robredo's bid to dismiss Marcos' poll protest last month.

It also granted Marcos' plea for the decryption and printing of ballot images in 3 pilot provinces included in Marcos' protest: Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.