There were alleged unused and excess ballots that have votes for Vice President Leni Robredo. The ballots in question were discovered on Wednesday, April 4, the third day of the manual vote recount, with the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET). However, a veteran journalist blatantly defended Robredo.
“Source: Unused/excess ballots for Municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur discovered containing shaded votes for VP Robredo in day3 of Marcos-Robredo manual recount”. ABS-CBN news reporter Ina Reformina tweeted that day. Her tweet received mixed reactions from netizens, with Inday Espina-Varona defending the vice president.
“Ummmm, unused and excess? Then di kasama sa bilang? (Then it is not included in the counting)” Espina Varona replied, who is the former chairperson of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), and have worked in a number of reporting and editing positions for such as Manila Chronicle, and the Manila Times.
Apparently, tons of netizens criticized the veteran journalist for siding with VP Robredo. Most of them said that she is pretending to be dumb, and asked her if her comment will be the same if those excess ballots had votes for former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
And as expected, Jover Laurio of Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB) also defended VP Robredo. “Kindly check Sec. 207 of the Omnibus Election Code as to how excess ballots and unused ballots are treated and handled. This is a non-issue, and should be treated as such by any knowledgeable, responsible, and ethical news reporter.” She tweeted.
“If there are excess ballots, they shall be returned in the box and thoroughly mixed therein, and the poll clerk, without seeing the ballots and with his back to the box, shall publicly draw out as may ballots as may be equal to the excess and without unfolding them, place them in an envelope which shall be marked ‘excess ballots’”. It says, as posted at the official website of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
“The envelope shall be placed in the compartment for valid ballots, but its contents shall not be read in the counting of votes. If in the course of the examination ballots are found folded together before they were deposited in the box, they shall be placed in the envelope for excess ballots.” Sec. 207 of the Omnibus Election Code says further.