Comelec okays opening of 7 ballot boxes

By: Jameela Antoniette I. Mendoza May 13,2016 - 10:36 PM
SECURED/MAY 12, 2016: One of the Army soldier secure the canvasing area in the Capitol Social Hall as they wait for the members of the Provincial board of canvasers to start.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

The skywalk along DM Cortes Street will be temporarily closed due to the dangling wires posing danger to passing pedestrians. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

THE opening of the ballot boxes from seven voting precincts last Thursday afternoon to retrieve misplaced election paraphernalia was authorized by the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

Diwa Cuevas, Cebu City treasurer, cited a letter from the Board of Canvassers Chairman Edwin Cadungog stating that board of election inspectors in those precincts misplaced election paraphernalia inside the ballot boxes.

Cadungog was referring to the ballot boxes, which were opened last Thursday. These are Barangay Luz #224, Barangay Talamban #347, Barangay Ermita #114, Barangay Quiot #748, Barangay Guadalupe #543, Barangay Suba #784, and Barangay Sambag I #285.

The misplaced election paraphernalia included election return envelopes, election returns, minutes of testing and sealing, ballots of detainee voters, battery for a vote-counting machine, and even an SD memory card.

Cuevas also said that the retrieved items were supposed to be submitted to the Comelec, not placed inside the ballot boxes.

She said only the official ballots should be inside the boxes.

“When they (Comelec Cebu and City Treasurer’s Office personnel) made an inventory, they found out that an SD (memory) card was missing,” she said.

If the retrieved items were not submitted to the Comelec in Manila, Cuevas said election officers could be held liable.

An issue was raised yesterday by Councilor Sisinio Andales who questioned the opening of the ballot boxes and asked why there were no poll watchers present.

Cuevas said Cadungog was called to explain that the opening was approved and authorized by the Comelec.

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