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Clarification on Taguig’s mayoralty race in 2010; Panganiban responds

05:01 AM June 26, 2018

In his column on June 17, retired chief justice Artemio Panganiban made a proposal regarding the election protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) (Marcos vs Robredo). To support the proposal, he alleged that the ballots in the protested 2010 mayoralty race in Taguig City (Tinga vs Cayetano) had been “destroyed, mutilated, rained on or otherwise could no longer be read manually.”

My former colleague is misinformed. The simple truth is that the ballots were intact as they were kept inside the auditorium of the Taguig City Hall, but the Cayetano camp had doggedly resisted the retrieval of the ballots despite the Commission on Elections’ issuance of as many as 10 retrieval orders. Every time the poll body scheduled a retrieval operation, the Cayetano camp saw to it that the City Hall premises were manned by armed guards and followers to prevent the retrieval party from gaining entry.

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On the account of political interventions by the powers-that-be, the poll body eventually refused to execute its own orders and the Philippine Marines declined to participate in the ballot retrieval despite our motions and representations.

As far as I know, this may be the first and only time in the history of elections in the country that the ballots subject of a protest were not retrieved. Indeed, the sordid affair is a black mark in the record of the Comelec and the administration that had caused it to transpire.

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What happened in Taguig City is irrelevant to the issue of the proper percent threshold regarding the shades for vote validation, and the columnist’s proposal “to rerun the secured data cards” and decrypt the images of the ballots subject to the PET case.

Moreover, I have it on good authority that the PET has started both the revision of the ballots and the decryption of the images.

DANTE O. TINGA,
retired justice, Supreme Court

On the letter writer’s allegation that I was “misinformed,” I maintain my position that the Comelec, in Tinga vs Cayetano, used the SD cards, then known as the compact flash cards or CFC, not the actual printed ballots as shown by an Inquirer report on Oct. 5, 2012, bylined by Jocelyn R. Uy, saying in part that the Comelec First Division chaired by then Commissioner Rene Sarmiento junked the poll protest of former Supreme Court justice Dante Tinga against Mayor Ma. Laarni Cayetano “based on the decrypted results from the computerized polls, which showed that Tinga had only 12,011 votes compared to Cayetano’s 12,497.” The Inquirer item further said that the Comelec “‘resolution is based on the
decryption of the purported compact flash cards of the 43 pilot precincts instead of the ballots which are the
primary evidence of the votes,’ said the former magistrate’s spokesperson, lawyer Rommel Tinga.”

ARTEMIO V. PANGANIBAN,
retired chief justice

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TAGS: letters to the editor, Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET)
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