Allegations of pre-shaded ballots can affect poll credibility, exec says
MANILA, Philippines — The allegations of pre-shaded ballots overseas can create doubt to the electoral process, Commission on Elections (Comelec) Commissioner George Garcia admitted Tuesday.
“I fully agree… na (that) it can create a doubt as to the integrity of the entire process. That’s the reason why we would like to go deeper into this incident,” Garcia said on CNN Philippines’ The Source.
Garcia on Monday said that the Comelec’s Task Force Against Fake News will investigate the alleged pre-shading of ballots in Singapore and Dubai.
The Philippine Embassy in Singapore confirmed that a spoiled ballot was “inadvertently and unintentionally” given to a voter, noting that this was an isolated case.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Consulate in Dubai denied such accusations.
Garcia said that he would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the electoral board as the incident may have occurred due to their exhaustion.
“I would like to [give the] benefit of the doubt, perhaps really sobrang pagod ‘yung mga (they are really tired, the) electoral boards,” he said.
Despite this, the commissioner stressed that a spoiled ballot should have been segregated with other valid ballots.
“If that spoiled ballot really appeared or a spoiled ballot in the previous day and then therefore, it should have been included already in the envelope. That should not have been included in the valid ballots,” he elaborated.
Garcia likewise said that the poll body is “lucky that the voter was able to complain and ask the electoral board” why the ballot is already pre-shaded.
Overseas voting commenced on April 10 and will end on May 9.
Around 1.6 million registered Filipino voters abroad may vote for president, vice president, 12 senators, and a party-list group only.