MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Elections will meet en banc Tuesday to discuss the problem of how to retrieve contested ballot boxes in the custody of Taguig city government that are subject of an electoral protest in the 2010 mayoralty race.
In an interview, Comelec Commissioner Rene Sarmiento said, “Pag-uusapan namin sa Comelec en banc kung ano ang gagawin namin in the light of this development.”
Sarmiento said a team from the Comelec main office failed to retrieve the questioned ballot boxes after supporters of Taguig Mayor Lani Cayetano allegedly barricaded the city hall.
Last month, the Comelec ordered its First Division to retrieve the contested ballot boxes as part of the resolution of electoral protest filed by defeated Taguig City mayoralty candidate Dante Tinga against incumbent Mayor Lani Cayetano.
Cayetano’s spokesman, lawyer Darwin Icay, Monday questioned the Comelec decision to retrieve the questioned ballot boxes stored at the Taguig City auditorium.
Icay said the Cayetano camp has already filed an “Extremely Urgent Motion for Clarification” to remind the Comelec to follow the process in handling Tinga’s poll protest.
He explained that the poll body should clarify first if the ballot boxes will be used for recount or revision, because these are two different things. He also appealed for the poll body to conduct a “technical examination” of the CF cards, PCOS machines, ballots and election returns before insisting on retrieving the PCOS machines that contain the ballots.
“Based on the poll body’s Rules of Procedure, it is only appropriate that the CF cards will be used as basis if there are questions in the counting of votes and not the ballots. But we are wondering why the Comelec is unwilling to conduct an inventory of the CF cards, amid reports that the CF cards have been missing said Icay.
Meanwhile, defeated Taguig City mayoralty candidate Dante Tinga expressed sadness over the Comelec’s failure to retrieve the ballot boxes as part of the election protest he filed against incumbent Taguig City Mayor Cayetano.
In an interview, Tiñga claimed that the camp of Cayetano allegedly blocked or thwarted the retrieval process.