BO-PK questions handling of ballots
THE Bando Osmeña-Pundok Kauswagan (BO-PK) yesterday claimed that the contested ballots that were shipped to the Commission on Elections head office in Manila Tuesday were mishandled.
In a press conference at the house of former congressman Tomas Osmeña, Evelyn Benabente of the BO-PK said ballots of clustered precincts were “consolidated” with other clustered precincts.
She said they discovered this during an inventory before the ballots were sealed prior to shipment last Sunday.
Osmeña also showed a letter from Cebu City election officers Marchel Sarno and Edwin Cadungog dated Aug. 28 informing candidates in the last elections of the impending transfer of the scanned ballots from 25 clustered precincts from their office to a City Hall warehouse.
As a procedure, the city treasurer is designated as custodian of the ballots and ballot boxes.
Osmeña received a copy of the letter only in Sept. 2 or a day before the scheduled transfer.
Cadungog and Sarno’s letter asked for representatives from different political groups to witness the transfer at 2 p.m. Tuesday. Osmeña said his lawyers will look into this.
Sarno said in a telephone interview that he is not privy to the storage of the ballots from the 25 clustered precincts at their office because he and Cadungog were re-assigned elsewhere.
Ferdinand Gujilde, head of the Cebu City board of canvassers and the south district election officer during the May 13 election, could not be reached for comment.
Osmeña and former vice mayor Joy Augustus Young filed election protests before the Comelec against Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama and Vice Mayor Edgar Labella. Ballots from 200 of the 592 precincts were shipped to Manila for the recount.
Benabente said they had to again pick out ballots from clustered precinct 410 so that this could be included in the ballots that were sent to Comelec in Manila. / Chief of Reporters Doris C. Bongcac