Comelec: Broken seals of ballot boxes ‘accidental’

Comelec logo
THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) assured the public on Monday that the broken seals on some boxes containing ballots for the May 13 elections delivered last Friday were accidental.

“I asked the Shipping Committee to take a look at the images and by the end of the day, they were able to come up with a conclusion that the tear was accidental. The most telling thing there is the torn edges were uneven and was not consistent with the deliberate breaking of the seal,” Comelec Spokesperson James B. Jimenez told reporters in a briefing.

A picture of a torn paper seal on ballot boxes delivered to the Pasig City treasurer’s office was shared and became viral online last week.

Mr. Jimenez also explained that checking for possible tampering with ballots should be undertaken with the whole package and a broken paper seal is not automatically indicative of fraud.

“In order to check the integrity of the entire shipment, you don’t just look whether or not if the exterior sticker is intact, but you check if whether the packaging of the cargo is intact,” he said, adding that the ballot boxes in Pasig were still perfectly sealed with shrink-wrap.

Other seals found in the ballot boxes were also untouched.

The Comelec spokesperson also noted that the vehicle used to transport the ballots was a wing van, which means the cargo is expected to be not perfectly stable while in transit.

On another issue, Mr. Jimenez said replacement marking pens to be used for voting have been tested, passed the requirements, and already shipped out.

Some voting precincts have previously reported receiving defective markers.

“We don’t see any more problems with the marking pens because the new pens have been tested and they come up with our requirements… (defective) pens are in the custody of the election officer and will be pulled out completely afterwards. We started shipping more than a million replacements,” he said.

An average of 12 marking pens will be available for each clustered precinct.
Gillian M. Cortez

DoTr-TESDA Tsuper Iskolar program open to ‘as many as willing’ to join — Tugade


THE GOVERNMENT’S “Tsuper Iskolar” program, a skills-training scholarship for jeepney drivers and their dependents who will be affected by the transportation modernization project nationwide, is aiming to accommodate as many interested applicants as possible, according to Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade. The program is being implemented by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in partnership with the Department of Transportation (DoTr). “There no cap (to the number)… as many as there are who are willing to participate in the program. TESDA and DoTr are not closing their doors,” said Mr. Tugade during Friday’s launch of the program in Davao City. The launch was attended by the first batch of more than 700 beneficiaries, which included jeepney drivers and operators, indigenous people, and rebel returnees. The trainings being offered include auto mechanics, accounting and bookkeeping, and other business management skills, among others. An initial budget of P350 million for this year has been downloaded to TESDA. — Maya M. Padillo