MANILA – The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Commission on Elections to furnish all parties in the electoral protest filed by defeated vice presidential candidate and former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos , Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo with a copy of its letter earlier submitted to the Court.
The Comelec letter was in connection with the precautionary protection order issued by the SC to safeguard all equipment and documents related to Marcos protest.
In a press conference, SC Spokesperson Theodore Te said the tribunal directed the Comelec to “send a copy of its Aug. 10, 2016 letter to the parties within a non-extendible period of five days” and for the parties to comment on that within 10 days.
In its letter, the poll body asked the SC to issue an order if its earlier precautionary protection order (PPO) also covered election materials and paraphernalia used in the May 9 elections, which allegedly did not contain any election data results.
The letter also sought authority for the Comelec and its service provider, Smartmatic-TIM to conduct the closure and stripping for all the vote counting machines (VCMs), including the immediate disposal of their external batteries.
The Comelec also asked the SC to issue an order authorizing its Election Records and Statistics Department to back up the contents of the VCM SD cards of all 92,509 clustered precincts and the Consolidation and Canvass System (CCS) laptops of all municipalities, cities and provinces covered and the conduct of preliminary discussion between the Comelec and the counsel of watchers of the parties and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on the protocol and procedures to be observed during the stripping and backing-up activities, including the ocular inspection of the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna where the said activities were supposed to be conducted.
The SC acting as the PET, issued the PPO which covers all the ballot boxes and their contents, including the ballots, voter’s receipts and election returns, the lists of voters, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List (EDCVL), and voters registration records (VRRs), and the books of voters and the audit logs, transmission logs, and all log files.
Also covered by the PPO were all other documents or paraphernalia used in the elections, including the automated election equipment and records such as the VCMs, CCS units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images, evidencing the conduct and the results of the elections in all of 92,509 clustered precincts that functioned in the last elections.