Tug-of-war over ballots heats up in Taguig City | Inquirer News

Tug-of-war over ballots heats up in Taguig City

Taguig Mayor Ma. Laarni “Lani” Cayetano made a last-ditch effort to stop the scheduled retrieval of ballot boxes at the Taguig City Hall on Monday as she asked the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to clarify some issues regarding the poll protest filed by former associate justice and defeated mayoral candidate Dante Tiñga.

In her Extremely Urgent Motion for Clarification with the Comelec, she reiterated her demands for inventory and technical examination of the Compact Flash (CF) cards used in the Precinct Count Optical Scan machines during the 2010 mayoral elections.


Cayetano claimed that the Comelec failed to resolve the issue, which “all the more makes it imperative to temporarily hold in abeyance the retrieval of the contested ballot boxes, considering the reasons advanced in this submission.”

In a February 15 resolution, the Comelec First Division made up of Commissioners Rene Sarmiento, Armando Velasco and Christian Robert Lim scheduled the recount of ballots from February 20 to 23.


It also ordered the retrieval of 43 ballot boxes: 10 on Monday, another 10 on Tuesday, 11 on Wednesday and 12 on Thursday.

According to city government spokesman Darwin Icay, this should be postponed until certain things are clarified by the poll body.

“First, the poll body should clarify if the ballot boxes will be used for recount or revision because these are two different things,” Icay said, noting that a revision would give them a chance to scrutinize every ballot presented while a recount would mean a recounting of the votes cast during the elections.

He also noted that under Comelec rules, CF cards should be used in the counting of votes and not the ballots.

“We urge the Comelec to have an ‘inventory’ of CF cards. Based on the poll body’s rules of procedure, it is only appropriate that the CF cards will be used as basis if there are questions in the counting of votes and not the ballots,” Icay said in an interview.

Icay clarified, however, that they would turn over the contested ballots to the Comelec “provided they give us proof of their authority to retrieve these.”

For his part, Tiñga said that Cayetano’s latest pleading was “frivolous.”


“It’s frivolous and is only an attempt to derail the process. What was to be enforced is a legitimate order of a constitutional body whose mandate is to see to it that elections are clean and the correct winners are proclaimed,” he told the Inquirer in a phone interview.

Tiñga noted that in a separate resolution, the Comelec declared that the issue of ballot retrieval was already closed and that it would no longer accept related pleadings.

He also expressed regret over reports that members of the

Comelec were thwarted when they came to collect the ballots Monday morning.

“We are saddened by the sudden turn of events. They were not able to retrieve the ballots because they were prevented from going into city hall,” he said.

However, Icay disputed this, noting that until 5 p.m. on Monday, no one came from Comelec to enforce its order.

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TAGS: Dante Tinga, election dispute, Elections, Laarni Cayetano, Philippines – Metro, Taguig
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