While the tribunal allowed the release of the soft copies of the ballot images to the Marcos camp, it said that it will be keeping the "official, printed and authenticated copies" of the said election documents "for the conduct of the revision proceedings pursuant to the 2010 PET rules." OVP/ Philstar.com, File

Bongbong Marcos gets soft copies of ballot images in VP poll protest
Kristine Joy Patag (philstar.com) - January 18, 2018 - 4:45pm

MANILA, Philippines — Only soft copies of the decrypted ballot images will be released to the camp of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal ruled.

In a four-page order dated January 10, the tribunal acted on the motion filed by Marcos asking for the turnover of the official and authenticated copies of the decrypted ballot images, election returns and audit logs of the three pilot provinces in his case: Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur.

While the tribunal allowed the release of the soft copies of the ballot images to the Marcos camp, it said that it will be keeping the "official, printed and authenticated copies" of the said election documents "for the conduct of the revision proceedings pursuant to the 2010 PET rules."

Marcos earlier slammed the PET for withholding the hard copies of the decrypted ballot images, saying that it was an action that his camp initiated. He also raised that he shouldered the cost of the process that amounted to P7 million.

The tribunal, in the same order, also denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Marcos, asking for a revocation of its earlier order granting the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo's camp request for soft copies of the documents.

READ: Claiming VP victory, Marcos nixes 2019 Senate run

Marcos camp: This confirms court bias

Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesperson, slammed the resolution, stressing that this only affirms the former senator's accusation that Associate Justice Alfred Benjamin Caguioa releases resolutions skewed towards favoring Robredo.

"It was [former] Sen. Marcos who moved for the decryption and Mrs. Robredo even opposed it. When [the tribunal] granted it, it required [former] Sen. Marcos to pay for the cost of decryption which has now amounted to P7 million and still counting," Rodriguez said.

"But Justice Caguioa does not want to give us the documents we paid for, saying the same should stay with the Tribunal and if we want copies we should pay again," Rodriguez added.

An earlier STAR report said the case was raffled to Caguioa, the last appointee of former President Benigno Aquino III to the high court.

Rodriguez pointed out: "So we paid for everything — toner, paper, fees — but they won't give us a copy, and more fees are being asked from us if we want a copy. Robredo who opposed was given a copy a long time ago and it was given to her for free," Rodriguez said in Filipino.

In granting Robredo's motion to obtain soft copies of the electoral documents, the PET said: "[I]t would be for the benefit of the parties that they be allowed to secure the soft copies of the ballot images and other reports from the decrypted secured digital cards to protect their rights and interests in this election protest."

But Marcos has insisted before the tribunal that Robredo should not be given soft copies since she did not pay for the process.

"Indeed, [former] Sen. Marcos has not been given justice in his election protest," Rodriguez added.

The SC has since maintained that it would not release a comment on what it deems as "political statements."

Marcos lost to Robredo by a slim margin of about 260,000 votes in the 2016 national elections. Marcos — son of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was accused of committing massive human rights violations and corruption in more than two decades in office — has accused Robredo of cheating her way to the second highest office in the land.

Despite Marcos' grievances against the tribunal, the process of his electoral case has gained traction in the tribunal faster than other electoral protests.

In just 19 months since Marcos filed his electoral protest, the PET is readying to start its ballot recount in February.

READ: Bongbong's accusation of PET as unfair: What's behind it?

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