Poll tribunal chides Robredo, Marcos over gag rule
THE Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, on Thursday issued a show-cause order against former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Leni Robredo over violations of the rule barring public disclosure of information involving the ongoing recount for the 2016 vice presidential race.
In a resolution, the PET required both camps to explain “why they should not be cited in contempt for violating the Resolutions dated Feb. 13, 2018 and March 20, 2018.”
The two resolutions had imposed on the parties the sub judice rule pending proceedings in the poll protest, including the ongoing recount of votes in three pilot provinces.
“Despite these stern directives of the tribunal, several news reports have shown that the parties, their counsels and/or representatives, have nonetheless continued to disclose sensitive information regarding the revision process to the public, in clear violation of the aforementioned resolutions,” the PET said.
The statements from both parties about the recount and the integrity of the process were clearly covered by the sub judice rule, the PET said.
Robredo’s lawyer, Romulo Macalintal, said they were ready to answer the show-cause order once they receive it.
Despite the PET warning, insiders said Thursday more wet ballot boxes and missing voters’ receipts were found in two other Camarines Sur towns.
Wet ballot boxes were found in clustered precincts in Sagñay town, according to insiders. The ballots were no longer readable so they were set aside.
Insiders said revisors also found more ballot boxes with no voters’ receipts from the town of Balatan— bringing to 17 the number of ballot boxes with no voters’ receipts found so far.
During the first week of recount, several wet ballot boxes were found from Bato and Baao towns as well as Naga City in Camarines Sur.
Some unused or excess ballots with shaded votes for Robredo and ballots cut into half were also discovered.
There were also missing audit logs from clustered precincts in Bato town discovered by revisors upon opening of the ballot boxes.
The camp of Marcos claimed that these discoveries were proof of election fraud.
However, Robredo’s lawyer alleged that the former senator was only trying to taint the results of the recount and twisting the developments to favor his protest.
Four of the 40 head revisors resigned from their duties only a day after the start on the recount.
Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in the May 2016 national polls.
In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities. He sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental covering a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.
Robredo filed her answer in August 2016 and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won.
She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET.
Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.