MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr asked the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday, November 25, to order the poll body to reveal the contents of "unused" memory cards from the May 9 elections.
The SC sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that is hearing the election protest filed by Marcos, who ran for vice president in the May 9 polls against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos lawyer George Erwin Garcia said many secure digital (SD) memory cards "were found to have data" during the "stripping" or disabling of 1,356 contingency vote-counting machines (VCMs).
Garcia told the SC on Friday, "It is respectfully prayed of this Honorable Tribunal to direct the Comelec to furnish the protestant and the other interested parties in this case with…the results of the decryption of the SD cards from (1,356) units of contingency VCMS, which were found to contain data during the said closure/stripping activities."
Rappler is still trying to reach Comelec spokesman James Jimenez for comment as of posting time.
Garcia added that the reported presence of data in the SC cards "bolsters" Marcos' claim "that the mere physical examination of the subject VCMs, boxes, seals, stickers, and SD cards is indeed inadequate to prove" that these had not been used in the May 9 polls.
The lawyer also said the Marcos camp refused to join the VCM stripping on October 26 and November 2 "because it is their position that the Comelec should have secured authority from the PET before carrying out the stripping activities."
Garcia also referred to the PET's precautionary protection order (PPO) directed to the Comelec. Through the PPO, the PET wants the Comelec to safeguard all election paraphernalia related to the protest filed by Marcos against Robredo.
Garcia said the existence of a PPO "precluded the poll body" from conducting the VCM stripping without the court's approval. – Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.