By Mikha Flores, VERA Files
With recent Supreme Court decisions allowing the use of digital images in protest cases, the Commission on Elections will be streamlining the rules and procedures in handling protests after the May 13 elections.
Comelec Chair Sixto Brillantes Jr. said Wednesday he started drafting new rules around two months ago and is still waiting for new Supreme Court decisions before he finalizes the procedure. He cited the election protest case of unseated Imus, Cavite Mayor Emmanuel Maliksi where the Supreme Court upheld Comelec’s use of digital images in the recount of votes.
In a recent decision, the high court ruled that the picture images scanned and recorded by the Precinct Count Optical Scan (PCOS) machines are considered “official ballots that faithfully capture in electronic form the votes cast by the voter.”
“Makikita mo na nagiging key dito is the picture image which means you don't really have to bring the ballots anymore. Malaking bagay yun because you save on expenses (You will see here that the key is the picture image. It’s a big thing because you save on expenses,” Brillantes said.
He said the Comelec need not bring the ballot boxes during the recount or to individually count the official ballots, but it only needs to present the compact flash cards (CF cards) containing the digital images.
“We can dispense with (the old system). This will altogether change the entire process of electoral protests and revision of ballots,” Brillantes said.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)