THE COMMISSION on Elections (Comelec) has ordered its logistics contractor F2 Logistics Philippines, Inc. to explain the seemingly haphazard disposal of election materials at a site in Cavite City.
Comelec Administrative Services Director Julio Thaddeus P. Hernan told a news briefing on Monday that the election body has already sent the company a letter demanding an explanation of how election materials assigned to Tondo, Manila got disposed of some 33 kilometers away in Cavite.
A video of the dumped black boxes marked as Comelec materials went viral on social media last week.
“We will demand a formal investigation on Comelec personnel and F2 logistics, the chain of custody is very important in determining who is responsible for the incident,” Election Commissioner George Erwin M. Garcia told the same briefing.
Mr. Garcia said the materials were initially thought to be training ballots, but were later confirmed to be excess non-accountable materials such as indelible ink and election receipts.
“If F2 logistics is found negligent, we can rescind our contract with them and withhold payment until we are satisfied, or prosecute for an election offense,” he said.
“We will definitely hold accountable those responsible for this incident.”
Acting Comelec spokesman John Rex C. Laudiangco noted that all official ballots for Tondo, Manila had been accounted for and all votes for the area had been fully transmitted.
F2 Logistics did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.
Meanwhile, Mr. Laudiangco belied the assessment of International Observer Mission (IOM), a global election monitoring campaign, that this year’s elections fell short of being free and fair.
In a report dated May 19, 2022, the IOM said the May 9 elections “robbed voters of access to reliable information, access to the voting places without information, access to the voting places without intimidation, and a credible vote-counting system.
Mr. Laudiangco noted that the Philippine National Police reported only 27 election-related incidents of violence starting from January, which was the lowest since the 2010 elections.
He also cited a report from the international watchdog Asian Network for Observers (ANFREL) indicating that this year’s polls was largely peaceful.
“ANFREL deems the transmission of preliminary results to COMELEC’s transparency server to be timely and seemingly representative of the will of the Filipino people, although concerns about their trustworthiness have arisen that need to be urgently addressed,” the group said in its report dated May 11.
Mr. Laudiangco pointed out that Comelec has acknowledged the failures in vote counting machines, and that these incidents “will be a lesson learned for 2025 elections.”
“But we have to stick to the facts,” he said. “We want to assure our countrymen that everything was done by Comelec according with the law and in fact above and beyond the call of the law.” — John Victor D. Ordoñez