Atienza cites ‘alien’ ballots in Comelec petition
Why were the results of the 2007 national elections in Colombia encoded in the compact flash cards taken from several Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines used in last year’s presidential elections?
This question was raised on Tuesday by the camp of former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza after his lawyer filed an additional pleading to convince the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to overturn an earlier ruling that dismissed the protest he filed against his rival, Alfredo Lim.
Lim was declared by the poll body as the winner in the Manila mayoral race in May 2010.
Last month, the Comelec First Division dismissed Atienza’s protest based on the results of a manual recount of the ballots cast in 200 out of the city’s 1,441 clustered polling precincts.
The results showed Lim with a huge lead over his rival.
In his pleading, Atienza noted a “strange discovery” in another poll protest, this time, involving the results from North Cotabato in which the compact flash cards taken from the PCOS machines yielded 100 ballots from the “Republica de Colombia.”
The ballots were cast during the Oct. 27, 2007, elections for the positions of president and senators.
Atienza said he was convinced that if such a “strange phenomenon” happened in North Cotabato, the same or a similar irregularity may have happened in Manila in the 2010 polls, which could have affected the results of the election.
In a separate interview, Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. said he thought Atienza’s motion would come to nothing.
“I haven’t seen the motion but initially, I think it’s a bit pointless. The motion will be fruitless because the lead [of Lim] is big and it increased after 20 percent of the contested precincts were recounted,” added Brillantes, who earlier inhibited himself from ruling on Atienza’s poll protest because he used to be Lim’s election lawyer.
Aside from the “alien” ballots, Atienza also reiterated his argument that the First Division did not consider his observation that about 600 ballots in a precinct in Manila did not bear the signature of the board of election inspectors chair as required by law.
He asked the Comelec en banc to allow him to prove his allegations by directing the First Division to proceed with the recounting of the ballots from the remaining 1,241 clustered precincts.
Earlier, the First Division said the results of the recount showed Atienza with 20,130 votes against Lim’s 64,989 votes.
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