Robredo camp to SC: Allow both sides to examine ballot box retrieval

MANILA -- The camp of Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo has asked the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to allow her team and the camp of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos to witness the inventory and transport of ballot boxes in connection with the election protest filed by the latter.

In a resolution dated Dec. 5, the SC ordered the transfer of election paraphernalia, which included ballot boxes and election documents, to designated hubs in Camarines Sur, to be picked up by the PET retrieval team.

In a seven-page omnibus motion dated Jan. 3, Robredo, through her lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, said that based on the PET's order last Dec. 5, only the respective municipal treasurers and election officers would deliver the ballot boxes, election documents and paraphernalia to the PET team.

Both camps would not be able to see the original state of the ballot boxes in its storage, Macalintal said, adding that their respective representatives would not be able to write down their observations and comments during the inventory of the ballot boxes.

The presence of the parties during the inventory of the ballot boxes, election documents and paraphernalia will enable them to make a preliminary observation as to its state, the condition of the ballot boxes, locks and seals prior to the retrieval, the motion said, adding that for transparency's sake, the tribunal should allow both parties to be present during the inventory of the ballot boxes, election documents and paraphernalia.

Robredo's camp also asked the PET to allow both parties to escort and accompany the ballot boxes from their respective storage to the designated hubs.

In his electoral protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.

In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.

She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of the PET.

The high tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo's plea and proceeded with the case after finding the protest sufficient in form and substance.

Robredo won the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos' 14,155,344 votes.

Source: Philippine News Agency