Bongbong asks SC to stop Comelec from releasing VCMs

PIK PAK BOOM - Perseus Echeminada, Evelyn Macairan (The Philippine Star) - October 24, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – The camp of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has urged the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to stop the Commission on Elections (Comelec) from releasing the vote counting machines (VCMs) used in the May elections.

Through his lawyer George Garcia, the defeated vice presidential bet said the PET should have the authority to order the release of the VCMs, not the Comelec.

Marcos said the Comelec’s decision to release 1,356 VCMs to Smartmatic was a blatant violation of the Precautionary Protective Order (PPO) issued by the PET and a violation of Section 3, Rule 31 of the 1997 Rules of Court.

Garcia said the act of the poll body to unilaterally declare the VCMs as “unused” is deplorable, saying that only the PET has the authority to decide since it has jurisdiction over all issues relating to the conduct of the vice presidential elections.

Garcia doubted the assurances of Comelec that through a mere examination of the VCMs and the SD cards, they will be able to determine if these were used. He said there is always the possibility of switching.

For this reason, Garcia said any technical evaluation on the subject VCMs should be made under the direct supervision of the PET.

“For purposes of determining the inclusion or exclusion of the subject VCMs from the PPO, protestant Marcos implores the high tribunal to direct the technical examination of the subject VCMs, their SD cards and the system logs containing the deployment and use of the VCMs during the May 9, 2016 elections,” he added.

The Comelec, through Commissioner Christian Robert Lim earlier wrote to the PET chair Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, to grant the request of Smartmatic to release to them the VCM units that were not used during the May elections.

Marcos filed a petition questioning the validity of the proclamation of Leni Robredo as Vice President.

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