QCPD asks Comelec to look into ballot boxes found in demolished house
MANILA, Philippines — The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) has asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to look into the three ballot boxes discovered during a house demolition in Bago-Bantay, Quezon City.
QCPD Director Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel said they have already sent a letter to Comelec Chairman Sheriff Abbas, asking the poll body to verify the documents found inside one of the ballot boxes.
“We are still working for further investigation that might help to determine other details. The ballot boxes were kept at CIDU office while waiting for the Comelec’s advise on the proper disposition,” Esquivel said in a statement released Wednesday.
Reports from QCPD said the election materials were initially discovered Friday afternoon at the ceiling of a house along Cotabato Street, Barangay Alicia in Bago Bantay when a demolition team was removing the roof.
He said the Masambong Police Station received a report Monday from a concerned citizen about the ballot boxes. Two of the ballot boxes were empty, but one contained two paper seals, two empty short brown envelopes, an empty long brown envelope, four pieces of watcher tally sheets, and three blank mimeographed papers.
They were turned over to QCPD’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit.
Barangay Alicia officials said the house belonged to a certain Lilia Deang who died in 2017.
Deang’s son, Eleno Omalig, said that he could not track who may have left the ballot boxes as it turned into a dumping area of their previous boarders or lessees, mostly workers of a mall chain in the city.
Ballot boxes are used to contain voters ballots and other essential election documents such as election returns. Only members of the Board of Election Canvassers (BOC) and authorized Comelec personnel are allowed to handle ballot boxes, according to the Omnibus Election Code.
After the elections, only the city and municipal treasurers should keep the boxes for three months. A person who possesses a ballot box without legal authority is guilty of an election offense.
These yellow painted boxes have been left unused
After the 2013 Barangay elections, Comelec ballot boxes were unused because of the introduction of the automated polls. They were used again in 2018 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections. /ee
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