Lakas bets seek correction of ballot errors
MANILA - Candidates of Lakas CMD for councilor in Bacoor, Cavite have filed a petition seeking the correction of ballot templates for the city in the upcoming mid-term elections.
Led by their counsel Romulo Macalintal, candidates Mike Bautista, Rowena Bautista-Mendiola, Venu de Castro, Reynaldo Fabian, Edwin Gawaran, Boy Solis, Bayani de Leon, Boy de Leon, King Gutierez, Robert Javier, Gudeng Nolasco and Rey Palabrica faced the media before filing their petition at the Comelec.
Macalintal explained that based on the ballot templates available at the Comelec website, the candidates for councilor of Bacoor's district 1 were placed on the ballots meant for district 2, while the candidates for district 2 were put on the ballots meant for district 1.
Macalintal even showed print outs of the templates grabbed from the Comelec website as of 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Macalintal is afraid that in future elections, candidates may just pay off people handling the printing of ballots to cause errors in the design and printing as a form of electoral fraud. He said this makes cheating simpler because votes for certain candidates will not be counted.
Macalintal said it may also give rise to misaligned ovals in the printed ballots. Misaligned ovals already happened in the 1998 ARMM election, leading to the manual counting of votes, he said.
Macalintal said candidacies were filed early to avoid or correct errors like these so he hopes the Comelec can correct the error. He also suggested that in the future, candidates will be allowed to go through the ballot templates before printing so they can raise possible concerns.
"We hope Comelec can act on this within 1 week," he said.
Errors already corrected, says Comelec
Comelec Chairman Sixto Brillantes however fumed at Macalintal, pointing out that the Comelec already noticed and corrected this concern weeks ago.
"Mahirap sa kanya di naman website yung balota. Ano ba naman nagpresscon pa siya. Di wala malaking problema di naman nagtatanong nacorrect na ayos na yun walang problema tignan niya ngayon balota papakita ko yung tama."
Brillantes added ""nacorrect din naman, tumawag 1-2 weeks ago nagkaproblema yun east west imbest 1st and 2nd ayos na yun kasi di naman kami nagsasabi lahat ng kwento, bakit di ako tinawagan niya, alam naman niya telepono ko. Sasabihin ko di ka nagtatanong papagalitan ko siya"
Comelec Spokesman James Jimenez said the same thing---that the concern has been corrected.
Macalintal, however, pointed out that the website should have been corrected as well. "Last week pero kagabi nag check kami ulit from our petition na wala pang appropriate correction."
Macalintal added they are still going ahead with this petition to make their complaint formal and those responsible for the errors be held accountable.
Macalintal insisted they were not given an explanation for the errors.
"In future elections, napakadaling magkaanomalya…we're opening the floodgates to corruption in future elections."
Macalintal said the faulty ballots may confuse voters on election day.
Before this, the camp of senatorial candidate Teddy Casino already complained that he was listed as an independent in the ballot templates when his Makabayan party is a registered party with the Comelec.
The Comelec corrected this. The correction was done before the printing of ballots.
However, these are apparently not the only errors seen in the ballot.
Both Brillantes and Jimenez admitted they found errors after they reviewed the ballot design templates for the whole country following the discovery of the Bacoor case.
Both, however, insisted that the corrections have been made.
Brillantes said, "Marami kami nakita noon pero nacorrect na..."
Brillantes insisted no erroneous ballots were printed.
Brillantes said he will also order the updating of the website.
Jimenez said: "It’s not as widespread as some people may say. They shouldn't worry, medyo matagal tagal pa halalan we have enough time."
Jimenez said ballot printing broke the 41-million mark with printing to finish in 10 to 12 days.