Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has identified three pilot provinces for manual recount in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a Preliminary Conference Brief submitted to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Marcos’ lawyer George Garcia identified the provinces as Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Garcia said major discrepancies were noted in the votes cast in the ballots and those transmitted by the Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) and reported in the Certificates of Canvass (COCs) in these three provinces.
A total of 362 witnesses were also listed in the preliminary conference brief, who may be called upon to testify and submit supporting evidence.
Some of them include Commission on Elections (COMELEC) officials led by Commissioner Christian Robert Lim, directors Jose Tolentino, Esther Roxas, J. Thaddeus Fernan, Teopisto Elnas and Ferdinand De Leon; Smartmatic executives Marlon Ramos and Elie Moreno, election officers in the thirty three contested provinces and cities as well as election and information technology experts.
Marcos has filed an election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo, who won over him by more than 200,000 votes.
Marcos was contesting the results of 36,465 clustered precincts in 30 provinces and cities all over the country citing fraud under three main issues in his protest, namely the “flawed” Automated Election System (AES), the failure of elections in several provinces in Mindanao and the unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code into the Transparency Server on the day of the elections.
In a separate statement, Robredo’s camp maintained the election protest of Marcos was based on “general allegations and manufactured evidence designed to sway the results in his favor.”
“Marcos is throwing everything on the wall, hoping that something sticks,” according to the prefatory statement of the pre-trial brief for the preliminary conference submitted by Robredo’s counsels, Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, to the Supreme Court acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
Macalintal said Marcos, in his protest, claimed that the 2016 Automated Election System is non-compliant with Republic Act No. 8436, a defect which he claims has rendered the whole automated election system null and void.
“Yet, in doing so, Marcos limits his questions to one position – the Vice-Presidency. It is clear, however, that his claim effectively attacks not only protestee Robredo’s canvassed votes but also his own,” he said.
Marcos now wants the PET to proclaim him as the winner in an election “which he simultaneously impugns and claims to be null and void,” Macalintal said.
He also said that while Marcos limited his allegations to a barangay/municipality, he is seeking the annulment of the results of the elections in an entire province.
“With due respect, Marcos must come before the Honorable Tribunal certain, at the outset, of his cause and able to prove it, and certainly without resorting to false testimonies,” he added.