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Robredo lawyer: Marcos 'confused' on electoral protest

The lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday called former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. "a confused lot" for praying the encryption and printing of thousands of ballots from more than 36,000 clustered precincts. OVP/ Philstar.com, File

MANILA, Philippines — The election lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday described former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as a “confused lot” after he asked the tribunal to decrypt and print the images of ballots from thousands of precincts.

In a comment filed by Robredo's lawyers, Romulo Macalintal said that the Marcos motion to decrypt and print the images of 17,811,543 ballots from 36,465 clustered precincts shows that the former senator is confused as he does not know whether to decrypt, revise or recount the ballots as prayed for in his election protest.

Marcos, the son and namesake of the late Philippine strongman whose rule from 1965 to 1986 was marred by human rights abuses and rampant corruption, is questioning Robredo's election victory over him in last year’s national election.

Robredo defeated the well-financed Marcos in last year's national election by more than 200,000 votes.

The vice president has also filed a counter-protest against Marcos as she also alleged irregularities in some precincts in some parts of the country.

For their election protests, the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ordered Marcos to pay a total of P66,023,000 while the vice president was required to deposit some P15.4 million.

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'Inconsistent with protest'

Macalintal said that the move of Marcos to decrypt the ballot images in the Secured Digital (SD) cards from the vote counting machines was highly inconsistent with his election protest questioning the entire automated election system used in 2016.

The inconsistency was demonstrated by the fact that the vote counting machines and SD cards were parts of the automated election system which Marcos claimed to be a “vulnerable system with breaches of security protocols which undermined the integrity of the entire electoral process,” according to Robredo’s lawyer.

Macalintal also questioned how Marcos would pay for the encryption and printing, which could cost more than P218.7 million.

“[H]ow Marcos would pay the tremendous and huge cost of decrypting these ballots. The estimated cost to decrypt one precinct is P6,000 or a total of 218,790,000 pesos,” the election lawyer asked.

Macalintal added that the issue of the revision or recount of ballots is still pending before the PET since the vice president is questioning Marcos’ protest for insufficiency in form and substance.

The Marcos protest did not make a detailed specification of the actual protested clustered precincts and the specific acts or omissions to support his election protest, according to Macalintal.

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