No need for new ballot boxes, says election lawyer | Inquirer News

No need for new ballot boxes, says election lawyer

By: - Reporter / @mj_uyINQ
/ 03:04 AM April 10, 2012

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal

The Commission on Elections won’t have to spend more than P100 million on new ballot boxes to replace those containing the ballots still under protest by Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas, who lost the vice presidential race in the 2010 polls, an election lawyer said Monday.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal suggested that Comelec should instead purchase corrugated cardboard boxes to temporarily store the protested ballots and free up the official ballot boxes for use in the 2013 polls.


“I believe there is no need for the poll body to spend P100 million for new ballot boxes in the 2013 elections just because of the pendency of the election protest filed by [Roxas],” Macalintal said in a statement.


“Instead of purchasing such sophisticated ballot boxes… the Comelec could just purchase an equivalent number of corrugated cardboard boxes, which, on the average, would only cost around P150 per box,” he said.

Roxas’ election protest against Vice President Jejomar Binay involved at least 76,000 ballot boxes containing over a million ballots.

Macalintal said if the Comelec considered his suggestion, the poll body would be able to save P99 million since substitute boxes would only cost about P1 million.

The official ballot boxes containing the protested ballots are still under the custody of various municipal and city treasurers.

But the Comelec may ask the Supreme Court for authority to retrieve and transfer the entire contents of the 76,000 ballot boxes to the substitute ballot boxes in the presence of  representatives from both the Roxas and Binay camps, said Macalintal.

The cardboard boxes can then be secured with masking tapes signed by representatives of both parties, he added.


“There will be no problem as to the security of the integrity of the protested ballots since, in case of breach thereof, the ballot images from the compact flash (CF) cards could always be resorted to by the parties,” he noted.

Macalintal noted that in all election protests involving the 2010 automated elections where ballots were found to have been tampered, the ballot images from the CF cards were used by the Comelec and the courts as basis for the recount in compliance with the new rules in resolving election protest cases.

Should the Comelec purchase additional ballot boxes,  the poll body would later have excess ballot boxes once the protest had been resolved, warned Macalintal.

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“What a huge waste of P100 million while Roxas’ protest is practically not moving at all after two and a half years of its pendency with the Presidential Electoral Tribunal,” he said.

TAGS: ballot boxes, Comelec, Government

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