Bawal nga sabi eh: Marcos camp contests COMELEC decision to release VCMs
The camp of former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr. is contesting the decision of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to release the vote counting machines (VCM) to Smartmatic, adding such action needs the Supreme Court (SC) approval.
The SC is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) is the one handling Marcos’ election complaint.
Bongbong’s legal representative, Atty. Jose Amor Amorado, in a letter sent to COMELEC executive director Jose Tolentino, reiterated their stand that any decision of the poll body in the disposition of election materials used in the May elections should have the approval of the PET as it has sole and exclusive jurisdiction over the election protest of his client.
The COMELEC had earlier decided to grant the request of Smartmatic to recall 1,365 VCMs which it unilaterally declared to have neither been deployed and/or unused in the May elections.
Amorado said they already filed their Urgent Manifestation and Motion to the PET seeking to stop the release of the VCMs for being violative of the Precautionary Protective Order issued by the Tribunal.
They have also asked the PET to oversee the technical evaluation to determine whether or not the machines had been unused.
It for this reason, that they have decided not to take part in the scheduled examination of the VCMs this Wednesday, October 26.
“Hence, unless and until, the PET approves the release of the subject VCMs, protestant Marcos will not be sending any representative or any supervisor/lawyer to the 26 October 2016 meeting at Sta. Rosa City to witness your proposed release of the 1,356 VCMs to Smartmatic-TIM,” Amorado said.
The parties in the vice presidential and senatorial electoral protests were scheduled to examine the VCMs today at the COMELEC Warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna to determine if they were indeed not used in the last elections as a prelude to their release.
Amorado also protested how the October 26 examination has turned out to be not an inspection of the VCMs but a “stripping activity” as declared by Tolentino in his letter addressed to the parties.
He claimed they never agreed to any stripping activity.
“Please be informed that during the 19 October 2016 briefing at the COMELEC’s Training Room in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, protestant Marcos’ representatives did not agree to any ‘stripping’ activity. To clarify, what was discussed in the said briefing was only the plan of COMELEC to release the 1,356 units of contingency machines to Smartmatic-TIM,” he stressed.
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