Robredo files manifestation of grave concern over shaded, unused ballots

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 4) — At the continuation of the vote recount, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo filed a manifestation of grave concern before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) after the discovery of new irregularities in the ballots.

The document stated that on Wednesday, four official ballots from Baao, Camarines Sur were found pre-shaded in favor of Robredo. The ballots, however, were found in an envelope for unused ballots.

"Robredo was informed that she cannot claim these ballots," the document said. It added the revision committee advised Robredo to direct her manifestation to the PET.

As Robredo was not allowed to comment on the revision reports, the four ballots will then be treated as uncontested ballots.

The manifestation stated the Vice President "has been deprived her right to register her claims."

"What use is the purpose of having revision committees constituted when the parties will not be allowed to register claims and objections before the Head Revisors of the Honorable Tribunal," it added.

The document also said if such incidents need to be submitted to the PET for proper ruling, then the revision, recount, and re-appreciation of ballots "should be conducted before all the members present to expedite the proceedings."

The recount of the votes began on Monday, two years after former Senator and Vice Presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos filed his electoral protest before the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET. Marcos lost to Vice President Leni Robredo in the 2016 national elections by 263,473 votes.

Earlier, Marcos said there were irregularities in some ballots from Bato, Camarines Sur. He said ballots from four precincts were rain-drenched and cannot be read, while many have missing audit logs.

Macalintal said there's nothing to worry about, as ballot images may be printed for counting and the audit logs are with the Comelec.

Marcos had also questioned the appearance of "mysterious squares" on ballot images beside Robredo's name, claiming these were proof of fraud.

Robredo's camp explained that the squares were the way vote-counting machines recognized a shade on the circle next to the name of the candidate.

Four PET head revisors had also resigned on Tuesday, but their reasons have yet to be revealed.