Robredo’s camp requests inventory of official ballots

Election Commission (Comelec) Chairman Saiamen Pangarungan (right) and Commissioner George Garcia inspect work on the Vote Counting Machines (VCM) assembly line at their warehouse in Sta Rosa, Laguna, March 14, 2022 . Jonathan Cellona, ​​ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo’s electoral lawyer on Wednesday asked the Electoral Commission (Comelec) to provide political parties and candidates with a full inventory of the ballot papers that will be used in the May elections.

Atti. Romulo Macalintal also urged the polling body to disclose the total number of official ballots printed and the provinces, cities and towns involved. He also asked where ballots have not yet been printed.

Macalintal said Comelec should allow the use of ultraviolet light, black light or any such instrument to verify and ensure that official ballots carry the security features required by law.

“It will also dispel wild impressions from some presumptive pundits that some ballots are pre-shaded with invisible marks to favor certain candidates,” Macalintal said.

He also called for a random poll to be conducted to test and review the official ballot papers already printed, a measure already approved in principle by Comelec.

Sampling, Macalintal said, must be done in the presence of political parties and candidates and their representatives, who will be allowed to randomly select the official ballots to be tested.

“These drawn ballots will be checked and examined by said party representatives to determine whether they contain all the security elements required by law and will be fed into the counting machines to find out whether the said ballots would be recognized by these machines,” said Macalimental.

Comelec Commissioner George Garcia said on Tuesday the agency would allow “random sampling” of ballots printed during the period when stakeholders were denied access to the printing press amid the push for ‘omicron earlier this year.

The parties, he said, should at least write to Comelec so that the 7 men on the bench can formally address the proposal.

“Kung pwede, can properly say na sulat man lang para kung mapapadala sa amin, kahit ngayong araw, bukas (Wednesday) tatalakayin po namin sa en banc. another new appointee, the president of Comelec, Saidamen Pangarungan.

Macalintal said Comelec should also allow observers to witness the printing of official ballots and other election paraphernalia, such as election results and canvassing certificates.

He asked the polling body to ensure that political parties and candidates are briefed before election-related materials are handed over to town and city treasurers, so they can send observers to observe.

Macalintal earlier flagged the polling body for printing the ballots without the benefit of observers and observers, which he said violated Section 187 of the omnibus election code.

Given that Comelec had already printed 73% of official ballots, Macalintal said Robredo’s camp did not want to be blamed for the delay in printing as well as the government’s other election activities. electoral body.