MANILA – The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has advised all electoral tribunals and courts to use portable ultraviolet (UV) lamps to authenticate election paraphernalia in connection with the election protest cases filed before them.

"The Commission resolves to advise the electoral tribunals and regional trial courts to use any commercially-available hand-held UV lamps, which is hereby authorized and certified to be capable of detecting UV marks in the determination of the genuineness and authenticity of the official ballots," the poll body en banc said in Resolution No. 10794 promulgated on June 8 and made public Tuesday.

It added that the SD cards containing the election returns and digital ballot images may be decrypted and printed to determine how the VCM read the shades on the official ballots.

"We advise the electoral tribunals and regional trial courts to resort to the decryption of ballot images to determine how the VCMs (vote-counting machines) read the shades on the official ballots," the Comelec said.

The poll body issued the advisory following orders or requests from such tribunals and courts for the production of the VCMs, consolidated canvassing system (CCS) laptops, SD cards, and other election documents, equipment, and paraphernalia.

It said that such requests are being made for authenticating ballots and determining how the VCMs read the shades on the official ballots during poll protest cases.

Election protest cases may be filed before the House of Representatives, Senate, and Presidential Electoral Tribunals and before regional trial courts. (PNA)