Robredo camp says Marcos’ “mysterious” squares on ballots a “new feature” in 2016 polls


(Eagle News) — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday slammed former Senator Bongbong Marcos for saying the squares found in their copies of ballot images were “mysterious” and proof of electoral fraud, at least in the vice presidential race.

“Marcos was clearly fed wrong information by his adviser or a person who was as hysterical and excited as Marcos when they saw the characteristics of the ballot images,” Robredo’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal, said in a statement.

He said this was because the “square containing the black shading made by the voter on the ballot” was only a “new and special feature of the ballot images” for the 2016 elections.

According to Macalintal, in the 2016 polls, the “squares” came about after the Commission on Elections set a “25 percent threshold or the extent of the shading a voter had to make on the ballot in order that such vote could be counted by the vote-counting machines.”

“If the shading is less than 25 percent, the machine will not count the vote, which means the shading must be 25 percent or more. And once the shading on the ballot met said threshold, the same is counted by the machine and the ballot image when printed will show that the shade is inside the ‘square,’ which means that such shading was recognized and counted by the machines,” he said.

He said Marcos had created a “great blunder.”

“It is clearly ridiculous and frivolous for Marcos to say Robredo’s votes inside the “square” is a sign of irregularity and that only his votes that are inside a similar square are immaculately clean votes,” Macalintal said.

“Hence we cannot help but conclude that all these media presentations of Marcos alleging massive fraud committed by Robredo are mere publicity stunts and maneuvers because he knows that it is highly impossible for him to recover from his ballot recount,” he said.

Marcos alleged in his electoral protest filed in June 2016 that Robredo’s camp cheated in the May 2016 polls.

He sought the annulment of votes cast in three provinces – Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao–and a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

The Presidential Electoral Tribunal has found  the protest sufficient in form and substance.

Robredo was declared the winner of the vice presidential race, with only 263,473 votes more than Marcos. Moira Encina, Eagle News