MANILA, Philippines – Former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr said on Monday, April 2, ballots from 4 clustered precincts of Bato, Camarines Sur appear to have been "recently wet."
Marcos gave this update after he visited the revision site of the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) which began the initial recount of ballots on Monday morning from Marcos' 3 chosen pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
"Basa. So hindi magamit. Hindi namin maintindihan papano, imposible naman siguro na dalawang taong basa yan...Palagay ko, kailangan talaga pag aralan kung paano nangyari yan. Ibig sabihin kasi kung may nagbasa, may nagbukas nung ballot box," Marcos said.
(They're wet, so you cannot use them. We can't understand how, it's impossible that those have been wet for two years. So I think, we need to examine how that happened. Because if someone wet it, then someone opened the ballot boxes.)
Marcos said that as of Monday morning, the 40 revision committees had opened 42 ballot boxes from the 42 clustered precincts of Bato, Camarines Sur.
Missing audit logs?
Aside from the ballots that were wet, 38 ballot boxes have no audit logs, according to Marcos.
"Bakit importante yun? Dahil ang audit log ang, ang record kung ano oras nagbukas ang presinto, anong oras nagsaksak ng boto, anong oras nagsara yung presinto," Marcos said.
(Why is it important? Because audit logs contain the record of the times the precinct opened, closed and the time the votes were cast.)
Marcos said they were particularly interested in the votes that came late night at May 9, 2016 and early morning of May 10, 2016. (READ: Presidential Electoral Tribunal: What happens to a protest?)
Marcos had been complaining of alleged irregularities when Vice President Leni Robredo's votes surged in those times, and eventually surpassed his.
Marcos' lead over Robredo peaked at more than 900,000 at 8:20 pm of May 9, but at 3:29am the next day on May 10, Robredo surged past him with a lead of more than 8,000. Robredo beat Marcos by only 263,473 votes.
"Eh kung may late reporting, o early reporting, tulad ng nakikita namin sa ibang record na may pumapasok na resulta Sunday May 8, merong pumapasok na resulta late May 9 at umaga May 10, dun natin makikita dapat sa audit log, eh winala ang audit log," Marcos said.
(If there was late reporting or early reporting just like what we saw in other records where there were results on Sunday, May 8, then there were results late May 9 and morning of May 10, we were supposed to see that on the audit log, but they lost the audit log.)
These objections or remarks will be recorded by each revision committee, which will transmit its notes to the PET for assessment.
Each revision committee is composed of a head revisor hired by PET, and one revisor each from the Marcos and Robredo camps.
The initial recount will cover 5,418 clustered precincts from Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
The result of the initial recount will be the basis of the PET whether or not to proceed recount of Marcos' entire protest covering a total of 31,047 clustered precincts.
"We're going to have to find a way to recover those audit logs somehow. Since we are using computers, maybe it’s possible that those audit logs are in the database," Marcos said.
Robredo heard an early mass in Manila on Monday morning where she told her supporters: "Have no fear for we are fighting for the truth."
On Monday, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Malacañang welcomes the ballot recount.
"The Palace welcomes the recount para ma-settle na 'yang long-festering dispute na 'yan (so the long-festering dispute will finally be settled). This is a judicial matter, this is before the PET already, so we leave it to the coequal branch to handle that," said Guevarra. – Rappler.com