BBM made mistake in poll fraud claim, should apologize: Macalintal

Vice President Leni Robredo’s lawyer on Tuesday claimed former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. made a mistake when he alleged that certain markings in ballot images prove that he was cheated in the vice presidential election in 2016.

“Dapat mag-apologize siya. Oo, public apology. Alam mo kung ako, baka umuhod po ako. ‘Patawarin mo po ako sapagkat ako’y nagkasala,’” said Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal at a press conference in Manila.

Macalintal explained at length the supposed square markings in the copies of ballot images, which the defeated vice presidential candidate claimed were signs of electoral fraud.

Showing ballot images that would help his argument, Macalintal said the square markings were a “special feature” of the 2016 election, and that the square markings stood for the votes that reached the “25-percent threshold” that would signal the vote-counting machine to consider the vote valid and counted.

Vote shading that did not reach this supposed threshold did not have a square marking around them because they were considered undervotes, he said, claiming that these also happened in votes for Robredo and other candidates.

GMA News Online is seeking a reaction from Marcos’ lawyer.

Marcos questioned copies of ballot images which contained box-like images beside the names of certain candidates. He said votes for him were considered undervotes.

Macalintal said he believes the Marcos camp made a “mistake,” a “knee-jerk reaction” to the information they obtained, and should admit their alleged fault.

“Kami’y naniniwala na ‘yong mga pagkakamali nilang ‘yan dapat aminin ang pagkakamali. ‘Yan ang palatandaan ng isang tunay na lalaking maginoo,” he added.

He also answered Marcos’ questioning of the supposedly similar ballot numbers in the ballot images, saying the ballot IDs are “unique and the same” for each clustered precinct, and that this had been discussed during the Comelec orientation before the 2016 election.

The vote recount that is part of Marcos’ poll protest is slated to begin on March 19, which was earlier set on February 8.

Both sides of the poll protest again caught attention after a challenge from Marcos for them to sign a joint motion withdrawing all pending motions before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to prevent any possible delay in the recount.

Neither Marcos and Robredo or their lawyers signed the other party’s prepared document.

Robredo, however, filed a motion of her own with the PET on Thursday, which Marcos welcomed but said did not cover future motions.

Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 election. Marcos filed his election protest a day before Robredo took office.