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‘Mysterious’ squares not proof of poll fraud, says Macalintal

/ 02:03 PM February 13, 2018
Romulo Macalintal

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal. (File photo from a video by CATHY MIRANDA / INQUIRER.net)

The camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos was absent when the Commission on Election (Comelec) explained the “square” feature in the 2016 ballot images, Atty. Romulo Macalintal, counsel for Vice President Leni Robredo said Tuesday.

Marcos described the appearance of the squares in their copies of ballot images as “mysterious.” He said the square appears to be a mark that the vote-counting machine will recognize instead of the “bilog na hugis itlog” or the oval shape spot that voters need to shade, indicating their vote for their chosen candidate.

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Marcos said the squares appeared particularly beside the name of Vice President Leni Robredo.

“The squares enclosing the votes are a new feature of the 2016 elections. These squares capture those markings that meet the minimum 25 percent threshold set by Comelec,” Macalintal said at a press conference.

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“This was discussed by Comelec during a briefing attended by different political parties before the elections,” Macalintal said.

“Hindi sila [Marcos camp] umattend. Tapos sasabihin nila kalokohan po yun?…Maybe Mr. Marcos was ill-advised,” he added.

Macalintal said Marcos only chose the ballot images that he will present to the public.

“Pag boto nya binilang immaculately clean. Pag kay Robredo there is fraud,” Macalintal lamented.

The Marcos camp alleged that the fraud may have occurred during the source-code glitch by Smartmatic during wee hours after the elections.

“Natulog lang ako lamang na? Wag kang matutulog. Tingnan natin ang trend para malaman na talagang talo sya. Kung hindi sya natulog, malalaman nya na dumadating na ang boto sa mga balwarte ni Robredo,” Macalintal said.

Marcos also noted that there are a number of ballots with the same ID.

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Macalintal, however explained that the ballots are precinct specific.

“Only in this specific precinct can this ballot be cast,” he added.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the May 2016 automated polls.

He sought the annulment of about a million votes cast in three provinces – Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities.

In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.

She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.

The High Tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding the protest sufficient in form and substance.

Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.

READ: Marcos presents evidence on vote-manipulation in 2016 polls   /muf

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