Bongbong Marcos receives a Letter from the COMELEC to inform the parties that the Senate Electoral Tribunal already has the custody of the ballot boxes and other election documents in twenty-three pilot precincts in Basilan and Maguindanao. This is relative to the election protest of Tolentino vs. De Lima. Presidential political adviser Francis Tolentino claimed that several irregularities were uncovered in the first three days of the ongoing ballot recount. It is not clear why it went ahead of the much awaited Vice Presidential recount.
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Protestant Present during Recount
Tolentino witnessed the counting at the SET building inside the Commission on Audit compound in Quezon City. The former Metropolitan Manila Development Authority chairman went to personally observe the recount of the contested 635 ballot boxes containing ballots used during the May 9, 2016, automated senatorial elections.
He said several ballot boxes in pilot precincts in Calbayog City in Samar contained ballots that were used during the 2013 midterm elections. Tolentino said he will seek the nullification of vote results in the precincts where 2013 ballots were uncovered. The former MMDA chairman, who ran as an independent candidate, lost to De Lima by 1.2 million votes. Tolentino described De Lima’s lead over him as “dubious,” saying the gap between the 12th and 13th placers is usually just around 40,000 votes.
Another Recount to Follow
COMELEC also informed the parties that it would start to prepare for the recount of votes in the election protest of Tan vs. Hataman. Former Vice Governor Sakur Tan questions Governor Mujiv Hataman re-election victory during the 2016 polls. Therefore, the Marcos vs Robredo recount can very well be postponed for next year.
Further Delay of Marcos’ Protest
Based on the recount trend, it is evident that Marcos’ protest against Robredo is definitely not the priority of the COMELEC this year. It is then a false hope for the Marcos loyalists to expect for a recount anytime soon. This is not likely to happen considering Comelec’s publicized schedule.