The tribunal, in a resolution dated September 18, said that Marcos did not present evidence to back his claim that the decrypted ballot images are not faithful images of the paper ballots and are compromised.
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PET junks Marcos opposition to use of ballot images in poll recount
Kristine Joy Patag (Philstar.com) - September 26, 2018 - 5:13pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has junked former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s opposition to the use of ballot images that he had earlier asked to be decrypted and printed.

The tribunal, in a resolution dated September 18, said that Marcos did not present evidence to back his claim that the decrypted ballot images are not faithful images of the paper ballots and are compromised.

“Mere allegations are not proof,” the PET said.

The tribunal pointed out that it was Marcos who moved for the decryption and printing of the ballot images that he later said should not be used.

The PET also stressed that Marcos’ representatives observed the Comelec’s process of decryption and signed every page of the printed ballot images for authentication.

“At the very least, protestant’s participation in the foregoing activities shows a reliance on the integrity and security of the Comelec’s processes,” the tribunal noted.

The decrypted ballot images, the PET said, can be used by Head Revisors—head in the three-person committee conducting the recount—when “the paper ballots were wet, damaged, or are otherwise unreadable.”

“Thus, it is in the interest of the protestant that the Tribunal be allowed to resort to the decrypted ballot images, whenever necessary,” the resolution read.

“Without the decrypted ballot images, protestant will be deprived of the opportunity to revise the votes for the precincts where the paper ballots are unavailable,” the PET added.

Head revisors to refer to election returns

In the same resolution, the PET also set aside the 50-percent threshold in determining the validity of votes—a matter that was contested by both camps.

It recalled that the Comelec proposed the use of the decrypted ballot images to determine if a particular shade was counted by the Vote Counting Machines, the tribunal said that this would be an “extremely tedious process.”

Resolving the predicament, the tribunal has directed head revisors to refer to the election returns instead.

An ER is an electronic and printed document directly produced by the VCMs that bears the date of election and the province, municipality and precinct where it was held. It also shows how many votes candidates received in the precincts.

“The Tribunal finds that the objective of the revision process of mimicking or verifying/confirming how the VCMs read or counted the votes can be achieved by referring to the Election Returns generated by the VCMs used in the 2016 elections,” the tribunal said.

If the ER however was not found in the ballot boxes, the HRs can use the certified true copies of the ERs that the PET is already obtaining from the poll body.

The resolution was penned by Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa.

BONGBONG MARCOS ELECTORAL PROTEST LENI ROBREDO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
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