By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo raised the possibility that public school teachers, who served as elections officers in the 2016 elections, have the audit logs contrary to claims by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that they went missing.
Veteran lawyer Romulo Macalintal, lead counsel of Robredo, advised their rival not to make conclusions that there were anomalies in the vice presidential election due to the audit logs.
“Iyan again ay isang katunayan na hindi alam ni Mr. Marcos ang sinasabi niya tungkol sa eleksyon kasi ang audit logs, hindi po nilalagay sa ballot boxes. Iyang audit logs iniiwan iyan sa election officer (This is again a proof that Mr. Marcos didn’t know what he was saying about the election because the audit logs are not placed in ballot boxes. The audit logs are left to an election officer),” he said in an interview with CNN Philippines.
“Kung sakaling may naiwan sa isa o sa dalawa, ito po ay pagkakamali lamang ng teacher. Ang iniiwan lang po sa ballot box ay iyong minutes of voting, iyong mga balota na ginamit (If ever one or two [audit logs] were left, this was a mistake committed by the teacher. What is left in the ballot box are the minutes of voting, the ballots used),” Macalintal added.
In a separate statement later issued to media, Macalintal said Marcos was ill advised to claim that the ballot boxes now being revised did not have the precinct audit log reports.
“Audit logs are not supposed to be placed inside the ballot box. These are delivered to the election officer of the city or municipality after the counting of votes in the precincts,” he explained.
Under Section 29 of Resolution 10057 issued by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), the lawyer pointed out this was part of the general guidelines of the poll body for the teachers who were members of Board of Election Inspectors (BEIs).
The resolution is dated February 11, 2016.
Macalintal doesn’t consider missing audit logs as a problem because copies can be generated from either the Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, or the Comelec.
“And as protestant, Mr. Marcos can always ask the PET for the production of these audit logs by Comelec,” he said.
The lawyer was reacting to the allegations of Marcos during the first day of the vote recount on April 2 that there were irregularities in several ballot boxes in Bato, Camarines Sur.
The namesake and son of late dictator alleged that 38 out of 42 clustered precincts in the same town had no audit logs.
In the televised interview, his lawyer and spokesperson, Vic Rodriguez, clarified that Marcos meant was 39 over 40 polling precincts.
The ballot’s audit logs would show the time when the precinct was opened, vote was cast, and the precinct was closed.
Meanwhile, Robredo’s co-counsel Bernadette Sardillo confirmed the resignation of four head revisors a day after PET started the manual recount.
“It is unfortunate as this will once more cause delay in the proceedings,” the lawyer said.
The camp of Marcos is also concerned that the resignation of these PET revisors will affect the revision process.
“We are surprised and concerned with the withdrawal of the four head revisors for no apparent reason. I hope this will not result in another round of delays especially now that we have started to uncover clear signs of fraud,” Marcos said.
“They are no ordinary revisors, having undergone rigid psychological test and meticulous screening by the PET. They must have a compelling reason for backing out and I am one with the Filipino people in asking why,” he added.