By Macon Araneta | FilAm Star Correspondent
Revisors of the official recount of the May 2016 vice-presidential election uncovered more questionable ballot boxes from Naga City, the hometown and bailiwick of Vice-president Leni Robredo.
During the continuation of the manual recount supervised by the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, revisors discovered cut grass inside wet ballot boxes.
The ballot boxes from Naga City were opened by the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET), which also started a recount for the congressional election in the third district of the province to resolve the protest of losing candidate Luis Villafuerte against Rep. Gabriel Bordado.
It was reported that some ballots were found organized and neatly stacked together with the other documents in what appeared to be another indication of post-election tampering and the unauthorized opening of boxes and manipulation while in the custody of the city treasurer, the Marcos camp said.
After the revision at the HRET, the boxes from Naga will be turned to the PET for the revision of votes in the Marcos protest.
Because of the discovery, the camp of former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. moved to question the validity of the votes, as it did earlier with boxes found in Bato and Baoa towns.
Marcos spokesman Vic Rodriguez said this was yet another indication of poll fraud and bolstered allegations that the evidence in Marcos’ election protest against Robredo had been compromised.
“We are convinced that more evidence of fraud, ballot box tampering and vote padding are to come out, validating our case that the 2016 election for vice-president is the worse in history,” said Rodriguez in a statement.
Rodriguez said the cut grass inside many ballot boxes in Naga indicated their integrity had already been compromised.
He also pointed to last week’s discovery of unused or excess ballots that had shaded votes for Robredo, ballots cut into half, and wet ballots in several clustered precincts in Camarines Sur.
During the first week of recount in the PET, several wet ballot boxes were found from Bato and Baoa towns in Camarines Sur.
Some unused or excess ballots with shaded votes for Robredo and ballots cut into half were also discovered.
Robredo’s lawyer downplayed the wet ballots and alleged that the former senator was only trying to taint the results of the recount and twisting the developments to favor his protest.
Four of the 40 head revisors resigned from their duties only a day after the start on the recount, in a move that is certain to delay the proceedings.
Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in the May 2016 national polls.
In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities. He sought a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental covering a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.
Robredo filed her answer in August 2016 and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.
She also unsuccessfully sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.
Robredo won the vice-presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.