The Commission on Elections will print 67.4 million ballots for around 67.5 million voters for this year’s polls, contrary to a false claim recirculating on Facebook that it has printed 11 million extra ballots, which it warned is a portent of fraud.
In an online walk-through of the National Printing Office on Jan. 18, Comelec printing committee vice chairperson Helen Aguila said at the 15:05 mark that six units of printers and sheeting machines will produce a total of 67,442,714 ballots for the May 9 national and local elections.
The false claim was superimposed on a 2016 photo of President Rodrigo Duterte holding a diagram of his narco list. The white text on a black rectangle reads:
Mr.JIMINEZ NG COMELEC, 50M LANG ANG BOTANTE BAKIT KA NAGPA IMPRENTA NG 61M BALOTA SAAN MO GAGAMITIN YAN SOBRA NA 11MILYON sa patay (Mr. Jimenez of Comelec, there are only 50 million voters. Why did you print 61 million ballots? Where will you use the 11 million. On the dead)?
Facebook account Scot North first posted the doctored photo on Feb. 13, 2019 with the caption:
Hwag na Hwag ka magkakamali Mr Jimenez na gagamitin mo ang sobrang balota sa gagawin nyo pandaraya ngayon darating na election, kung dati before pa ang election mayron na laman ang mga balota pra sa mga manok nyo mga magnanakaw (Don’t make the mistake of using the extra ballots on your planned cheating in the coming elections, if before the elections there are already pre-shaded ballots for your chosen candidates, thieves).
Netizens revived the false claim through shares and reposts of the fake image this month, with captions alleging the extra ballots may compromise the results of this year’s elections.
Another user who reposted the fake image on Feb. 24 added the following text: “Nadsabwatan Comelec at Rappler (Comelec and Rappler are conspiring).”
The Feb. 24 post coincided with the signing of Comelec’s partnership with private media company Rappler for voter engagement and counter-disinformation initiatives leading up to the elections. Among others, the partnership plans to produce election podcasts and seminars.
Marcos filed an electoral protest in 2016 after claiming that there was cheating in the elections when Vice President Leni Robredo defeated him by a narrow 263,473 votes. The Supreme Court junked the protest last year.
The original post has received more than 6,000 shares, 300 reactions and 100 comments since it was first posted in 2019. The account also shares pro-Marcos and pro-Duterte content. (CC)