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Robredo lawyer dismisses Marcos camp voting mismatch claim

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Robredo lawyer dismisses Marcos camp voting mismatch claim
Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal prepares for a press conference in Pasay City on election day, May 9, 2022. Macalintal is responding to allegations of the camp of presidential candidate Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. that vote-counting machines malfunctioned in favor of his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo.
Philstar.com / Xave Gregorio

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:03 p.m.) — Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer dismissed Monday claims of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s camp that some voters supposedly got receipts showing they voted for Robredo for president when they allegedly chose Marcos.

Veteran election lawyer Romulo Macalintal told a press conference in Pasay City that these claims might just be propaganda, or that these voters made a mistake, or that these voters actually chose Robredo for president.

“We cannot believe that the machine is programmed in such a way that the vote of Marcos would go to Robredo,” Macalintal told reporters partly in Filipino. “These kinds of allegations are mere allegations and there is no evidence at all because the best evidence of the votes cast by a voter is the ballot itself.”

He went on to warn that claims such as these, which he described as “not confirmed at all,” could damage the credibility of the electoral process.

In a press release, Marcos’ camp claimed that some voters in the towns of Narvacan, Sta. Cruz and Burgos in Ilocos Sur, and Tabuk City, Kalinga chose Marcos for president but VCMs ended up printing receipts that showed that they voted for Robredo.

Commission on Elections Commissioner George Garcia said in a press briefing that they have still not received any evidence of this happening.

“Until now, the individual has yet to present a piece of evidence and it makes you wonder because out of everyone who voted in Narvacan, why is he the only one who says that his vote doesn’t match what was printed on the receipt,” Garcia said in Filipino.

Macalintal heavily floated the possibility that voters simply made a mistake, but quipped that they could have really just chosen Robredo.

“Mr. Marcos should respect what is on the ballot. He should respect the personal choice of the voter. He should never question the intelligence of his voter,” he said.

Marcos has had a history of questioning the regularity of the elections. When he lost the tight vice-presidential race to Robredo in 2016, he filed a poll protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to contest his loss. He went on to lose this plea as well.

Comelec urged to probe malfunctioning VCMs

In another press conference after polls closed, Macalintal urged the Comelec to conduct an investigation as to why thousands of vote-counting machines malfunctioned despite having been tested prior to being used on election day.

Nearly 1,900 VCMs encountered “common issues” like paper jams, rejected ballots, scanner problems and printing problems, according to Comelec Commissioner George Garcia.

This resulted in delays in polling centers, where people queued for hours before they got to cast their vote owing to the breaking down of VCMs.

“Why the sudden malfunctioning of several counting machines despite the fact that during the final testing and sealing, we did not receive so many reports of malfunctioning vote-counting machines,” he said.

But Macalintal also said that he does not see any liability on the Comelec’s part and that the malfunctioning of the VCMs might not be deliberate. — with a report from Kaycee Valmonte

2022 ELECTIONS

BONGBONG MARCOS

LENI ROBREDO

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