Comelec calls for filing of complaint over alleged pre-shaded ballots shown in video

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MALACAÑANG ON Thursday said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) should conduct an investigation into the reported pre-shading of ballots in Lanao del Sur during the 2019 midterm elections held last Monday. “The Comelec should investigate that… That’s their turf,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo said when asked about the video that was widely shared on social media, supposedly taken in the province and showing hands marking a pile of ballots. There were reports of election-related violence in Lanao del Sur as well as alleged massive vote-buying, including in war-torn Marawi City, which is under the province’s jurisdiction. President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in a televised media interview in Davao City last Monday, said he wanted to go to Lanao del Sur to personally check the situation there. “(B)ut the problem is if I go there today… it might be construed by the many na campaigning beyond the allowable days,” he said. As of Thursday afternoon, with 85.42% of election returns transmitted, reelectionist Gov. Mamintal A. Adiong of Lakas party was leading comfortably with 229,851 votes against his closest rival, the ruling party PDP-Laban’s Gene Mamondiong, with 39,931. Mr. Adiong’s running-mate and son Mujam was also way ahead of PDP-Laban’s Abu Mohammad Sarangani. Nonetheless, Mr. Duterte said Lanao del Sur “remains to be controllable.”

Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez, meanwhile, said he is aware of the video, but cautioned the public against “jumping into conclusions.” “I can confirm the existence of the video but little else,” he said at a media briefing in Manila. “We encourage whoever has information on this video to come forward and file the complaint. If it was the original uploader themselves then so much the better,” he added. — Arjay L. Balinbin with a report from Gillian M. Cortez