Comelec starts decryption process on Marcos protest
By Ferdinand Patinio
MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The decrypting and printing of the ballot images in the three provinces identified by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., in his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo has commenced at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) office in Manila.
According to Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, the process will take at least seven months to finish.
The three pilot provinces are Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
Rodriguez said the printed images would facilitate and expedite the election protest of the former senator who ran in the vice president race during the 2016 polls.
In a resolution last October 10, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) ordered the members of the Exploratory/Retrieval Team to go to Camarines Sur either on October 16 to 20, or on October 23 to 27, 2017 to locate all the ballot boxes and map out the logistics needed for their retrieval and transportation to the Supreme Court compound in Manila where the revision/ recount of votes will take place.
“We are glad that the case is finally moving forward because each step forward is a step closer to the truth,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the decryption process was just the initial step for the recount of votes to proceed.
“There are a total of 2.6 million votes. Decryption is kind of a long process… it can take as long as seven months,” he explained.
Under the process, the revisors shall be tasked to decrypt the ballot images captured when the voters fed the accomplished ballots to the vote counting machines (VCMs).
After decryption, the images will be printed for them to be used by both parties during the revision process.
Marcos lost to Robredo by more than 200,000 votes in the May 2016 vice presidential elections, which prompted him to file an election protest before the PET in June 2016. (PNA)