Resolution No. 7861
GUIDELINES ON THE OPENING OF BALLOT BOXES USED IN PREVIOUS ELECTORAL
EXERCISES AND DISPOSAL OF THEIR CONTENTS TO ENABLE THEIR USE
FOR THE MAY 14, 2007 SYNCHRONIZED NATIONAL AND LOCAL ELECTIONS.
Promulgation: 18 April 2007
WHEREAS, in preparation for the May 14, 2007 Synchronized National and Local Elections, several Election Officers and/or City/Municipal Treasurers are requesting for authority to open the ballot boxes used in the 2004 national and local elections and in other previous electoral exercise, and to burn their contents;
WHEREAS, Section 219 of the Omnibus Election Code allows the city and municipal treasurers, in the presence of the representative of the Commission and of candidates, to open the ballot boxes under their custody and to burn their contents except the minutes of voting and counting and the election returns deposited therein, upon the lapse of three months following the election, provided these are not involved I any election contest or official investigation;
NOW, THEREFORE, the Commission on Elections, by virtue of the powers vested init by the Constitution, the Omnibus Election Code, Republic Act nos. 6646, 7166, 8436, 9369 and other election laws, RESOLVED to promulgate, as it hereby RESOLVES to promulgate, the following guidelines for the opening, and the disposal of their contents, of ballot boxes used in the May 10, 2004 national and local elections and in other previous election exercises, as follows:
SECTION 1. When Allowed to Open the Ballot Boxes – Ballot boxes used in the May 10, 2004 national and local elections and in other previous electoral exercises may be opened, and their contents disposed of, subject to the following conditions:
- Said ballot boxes are not involved in any election contest or protest or any official investigation;
- Candidates, political parties, citizens’ arms, and other concerned groups are duly notified of such opening and burning of its contents; and
- The minutes of voting and counting and the election returns deposited therein shall be kept by the city and municipal treasurer in a safe and secure room until orders from the Commission.
SEC. 2. Determination of pending electoral contest, protest or investigation. – To determine whether and which ballot boxes are involved in any election contest or protest, or any official investigation, the office of the Deputy Executive Director for Operations (ODEDO) shall inquire from the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, and the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, as to any electoral protests pending therein and their status.
The Clerk of the Commission, the Electoral Contest Adjudication Department, and the Law Department of the Commission shall submit quarterly reports, the last instance of which should not be less than two (2) months before the election, electoral protests, contests or appeal, or any official investigation pending in their Offices and the statues thereof.
The Election Officers and/or City/Municipal Treasurers, on the other hand, shall inquire directly from the Metropolitan and Municipal Trial Courts and the Regional Trial Courts having the jurisdiction over their station as to any pending election protest involving the ballot boxes and their status, for proper disposal pursuant to Section 219 of the Omnibus Election Code.
The ODEDO shall regularly and immediately advise all field election officers hereon for their information and appropriate action.
SEC. 3. Requests for opening of ballot boxes and disposal of their contents. – Written requests for the opening of ballot boxes and disposal of their contents may be filed by the Election Officer and/or City/Municipal Treasurer with the Office of the Executive Director for Operations which shall determine whether or not the ballot boxes are involved in any election contest or protest, or in any official investigation. To facilitate the determination of the status of the ballot boxes, the EO and/or City/Municipal Treasurer shall indicate in their written requests the date of the election when the ballot boxes were used, attaching thereto the certifications issued by the Municipal/Metropolitan/Regional Trail Courts, that the ballot boxes are not involved in any election contest or protest, or in any official investigation pending with said courts.
SEC. 4. – Grant of authority to open the ballot boxes. - If the ballot boxes requested by the EO or the Treasury to be opened are not the subject of an election contest or protest, or any official investigation as certified by the aforesaid Offices, Tribunals or Courts, the Deputy Executive Director for Operations shall grant the request of the EO or of the City and Municipal Treasurer for authority to open the ballot boxes, and dispose of the contents thereof pursuant to Section 219 of the Omnibus Election Code.
SEC. 5. – Notification. - Upon receipt by the City/ Municipal Treasurer of the grant of authority by the Deputy Executive Director for Operations, he shall immediately schedule the opening of the ballot and give notice thereof to the EO, the candidates, the registered political parties, the citizens’ arms, and other concerned parties or groups, such notice to be given at least one (1) day before the scheduled date of disposal of the contents.
SEC. 6 – Procedure. –In the event that the said ballot boxes to be opened are mixed with ballot boxes involved in an election contest or protest, or in any official investigation, the City/Municipal Treasurer shall make an inventory of the ballot boxes involved in the election protests or contests, or in any official investigation, and proceed with the opening of the ballot boxes not involved in any election contest, protest, or in any election investigation, and the burning or shredding of the contests thereof. The City and the Municipal Treasurer shall keep in their custody the minutes of voting and counting and the election returns deposited therein further orders by the Commission.
The EO, jointly with the City / Municipal Treasurer, shall submit to the ODEDO, a report on the conduct of the opening of the ballot boxes and the disposal of the contests thereof. The ODEDO shall then consolidate said reports, for submission to the Commission En Banc.
For purposes of the May 14, 2007 elections, the ODEDO shall immediately advise all field officers on the still pending cases of protests, counter-protests, appeal, or investigation, to expedite the disposal of the contents of the ballot boxes no longer involved in such pending cases, especially those used in the 1998 and 2001 National and Local Elections, 2002 Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections, most municipalities/provinces of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in the 2005 ARMM elections and all conducted plebiscites.
Let the Deputy Executive Director for Operations implement this Resolution.