More questions raised over viral discarded 2022 poll ballots as Comelec begins probe

May 23, 2022 - 6:33 PM
Teachers verify ballots at the Makati City Hall ahead of the 2022 national elections in Metro Manila, Philippines, May 6, 2022. (Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Some eagle-eyed Filipinos noticed that the ballots and election returns reportedly found in Cavite bore signatures made on election day.

These observations came after the Commission on Elections denied these ballots were the official ones used on May 9.

A Facebook user named Rodne Galicha previously shared photos and a video clip of black boxes containing official ballots and other election paraphernalia that were discarded and drenched in the rain.

Galicha shared that these materials were forwarded to him by his friend who claimed to have found them at a vacant lot in Cavite.

Labels in the boxes showed that its address is attributed to a precinct in Tondo, Manila.

Galicha’s post soon blew up on social media and eventually reached Comelec.

In a previous interview with ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, Comelec Commissioner George Garcia denied that the ballots seen in the post were used during the conduct of elections.

Garcia stated that they were for training ballots for the final sealing and testing processes.

“Ito po ay mga training ballots — meaning ‘yung mga balota na ginamit natin nung tayo ay nagte-training at the same time nagfa-final testing and sealing — at mga ilang dokumento,” he was quoted in a report as saying.

Based on Comelec’s election calendar, the deadline for the testing and sealing of the vote-counting machines (VCMs) was on May 7, 2022.

Garcia also assured the public that the ballots used by voters in Manila, where the boxes supposedly have come from, were “properly accounted” for.

Observations on social media

Some online users were not convinced by Garcia’s response.

They shared their own observations based on the photos and videos that circulated online.

Some of them noticed that the election documents in the photos bore signatures and the date when it was signed.

“May date nakalagay May 9, 2022, may mga signatures pa jusko,” one online user said.

“Training ballots pero may precinct at may mga pirma?” another user tweeted.

“Training nung May 9, mismong araw ng halalan? Sobrang cramming naman nyan…6 am start ng botohan. 18 hrs din kayo nagtatrabaho?” another Twitter user commented.

They were referring to the photo that showed a signed certificate of election receipt on May 9, 2022.

Another photo also showed an election receipt with signatures.

One Filipino, meanwhile, asked why the boxes were labeled as official ballots if they were for the testing process only.

Some online users also questioned the manner of disposal of the ballots whether they were official or not.

“Bakit ganun ang paraan ng pag discard??? Tabing kalsada tapunan? Manila to cavite?” one Twitter user asked.

“Training ballots. It should still be an official Comelec document, right? So why was it in a vacant lot?” another user asked.

Comelec probes disposal of ballots

Comelec has yet to issue an update about this incident.

Garcia earlier told TeleRadyo that the poll body will also probe why the ballots addressed in Manila were discovered at a site in Cavite.

He said that they will ask F2 Logistics, the contractor hired to transport election-related documents, to explain if they were responsible for discarding these boxes.

“Inaalam na lang namin bakit nadala ng F2 Logistics, ‘yung aming provider, mula sa Tondo papunta sa Cavité, at bakit andun lang sa isang tabi,” the poll commissioner was quoted as saying in a report.