Jejomar Binay’s rejected ballot and the ‘special treatment’ by Comelec

May 14, 2019 - 9:34 AM
Jejomar Binay makes a gesture with his face
Former Vice President Jejomar Binay gestures with his face while speaking to reporters. (The STAR/Edd Gumban)

Former Vice President Jejomar Binay’s closed-door meeting with Comelec after his ballot was repeatedly rejected raised concerns whether he followed the procedure dictated on such circumstances or not.

The Binay patriarch was able to cast his vote two hours after a vote counting machine in San Antonio National High School, his assigned precinct, failed to receive his ballot after eight tries.

He went to the Philippine International Conference Center where Comelec is holding its national canvassing and aired out his complaint.

The polling body gave him a new ballot after he met up with them.

“I saw them cross out my ballot. Normally, they rip that up. This is an instance where they have to ensure a new ballot,” Binay said in an interview.

A Twitter user, however, noted that a certain procedure must be followed whenever a voter has his ballot rejected by the vote counting machine.

According to Comelec’s Resolution 10088 that was promulgated in April 2016, the voter is supposed to re-feed the ballot “four (4) times in four (4) different orientations” after it has been initially rejected.

If it continues to be rejected, the voter must hand out the ballot to the chairman who shall conduct the following:

  • Distinctly mark the back of the ballot as “REJECTED;”
  • Have all members of the Board of Election Inspectors (BEI) sign the rejected ballot at the back;
  • And place the rejected ballot inside an envelope designated for rejected ballots.

A new ballot cannot be issued to the voter if the rejection of the previous ballot was due to the voter’s action, such as incorrectly feeding it to the vote counting machine or crumpling it.

Otherwise, if it is the vote counting machine’s fault, then a new ballot will be given under the expected procedure.

It is not known, however, whether Binay underwent the protocol stated in the polling body’s resolution or not since he met up with the latter behind closed doors.

‘High-profile’ personality

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez declared that there were other voters who were unable to cast their votes with the same machine.

He claimed that all of them will be given the chance to re-feed their ballots after the vote counting machine in the particular precinct has been replaced.

“Hindi lang siya ang essentially ng makaka-refeed, lahat ng na-reject, especially those that came after him, lahat ‘yun ma-re-refeed,” Jimenez said in an interview.

“Hindi ito special treatment in any way. It’s just that siya lang yung pinaka high-profile (personality) at siya lang ‘yung sumugod dito,” he added.

Binay, meanwhile, said that he was “grateful” for Comelec’s immediate response.

“I am grateful to the Comelec for attending to my concern and they will act on it so that my doubts will be allayed. I would lie if I said I am not mad,” he said.