Manila, Philippines – Former three-term Manila Mayor Lito Atienza is urging the Commission on Election (Comelec) to demand an explanation from the Manila City Government and the management of Museo ng Maynila as to why some ballot boxes and the ballots are drenched with or soaked in water.
In his motion submitted to the Comelec, Atienza has expressed fear that the drenched boxes which contain the contested election ballots might affect the result of their election protests.
“In the course of the sealing of the ballots of the protested clustered precincts, a substantial number of these ballot boxes and their contents were found to be ‘wet’ or drenched with or soaked in water,” Atienza’s lawyers stated in the urgent motion they filed with the Comelec.
“We believe that this was no accident and clearly an attempt to sabotage our election protest on the part of some individuals who stand to gain should these ballots be set aside and excluded from the recount.” Atienza said.
It was discovered that more than 80 ballot boxes from the Fourth and Fifth Districts, which according to Atienza were the protested clustered precincts, were wet and the ballots they contained are soaked in water.
Because of this, he said, there is an urgent need to have the ballot boxes delivered as soon as possible to the Comelec to immediately commence with the manual recount of all the “wet” ballots found among the ballot boxes that have been in the custody of the city government’s Museo ng Maynila since May.
Atienza has likewise asked Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV) chairman Ambassador Henrietta de Villa to monitor and observe the manual recount of the ballots cast in the election for mayor of the City of Manila.
“This request is prompted by an apparent act of some unscrupulous people to sabotage my election protest by damaging or impairing the ballot boxes and their contents when we recently discovered that some of the boxes and their contents are drenched with or soaked in water while inside the premises of the Museo ng Maynila where they were deposited by the City Treasurer of Manila,” Atienza said in his letter to De Villa.
Atienza also cited the recently released findings of the PPCRV regarding the Random Manual Audit (RMA) conducted by their Validation Team, which stated that “could not identify the reason for the large variances especially for the position of mayor.”
“As the citizens arm of the Comelec during the said election, I believe that the PPCRV should not only function during the election but should likewise take an active part in all proceedings to determine the true will of the electorate,” Atienza said.
Leonard Postrado, Manila Bulletin