Leni Robredo’s supporters have denied that ballot papers from the disputed vice presidential election were deliberately soaked in water.
Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said the ballots were already wet before the Supreme Court received them for a recount today (Monday, April 2).
He added that the ballot papers might have got wet while being stored in Camarines Sur during last season’s typhoons.
“While they were still stored, I think there was a storm then. I assure you that those ballots did not get wet or were deliberately soaked at the Supreme Court. No. Otherwise, it’s a criminal case,” he said.
The lawyer was reacting to the claim of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong‘ Marcos on the first day of the vote recount, which is part of his electoral protest filed against Robredo.
According to Marcos, ballots in four precincts were found to be waterlogged when opened.
He said: “In four precincts in the town of Bato, all the ballots, when the boxes were opened, were wet. So they can’t be used. And we can’t understand how it happened. It’s impossible that they have been wet for two years.”
However, Macalintal countered that it was possible the ballots had got wet more recently, as the boxes still contained water.
The vote recount was initially scheduled for February and after a false start last month, finally got underway today.
Presidential Electoral Tribunal spokesman Theodore Te said the recount of votes covers 5,418 precincts in three provinces — Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, all of which were chosen by Marcos.
Te added that the objective of the recount was to “ascertain the number of votes received by both parties in the May 9, 2016, national elections through a manual recount of the votes”.
“During the revision, the Head Revisor will segregate and examine the contents of each ballot box and on the basis thereof, determine the number of votes received by each party,” he added.
Marcos filed the electoral protest in June, 2016, accusing Robredo of cheating in the May 2016 elections.
Robredo has assured her supporters that “there is nothing to fear” from the recount. “We’re lifting everything to the Lord,” she added.