FORMER Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday slammed Vice President Leni Robredo for trying to taint the integrity of the recount of votes in the vice presidential elections, after she accused the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) of “systematically reducing her votes.”
“Robredo should stop accusing the PET of systematically reducing her votes and casting aspersions meant to debase its integrity,” Marcos lawyer Vic Rodriguez said in a statement.
The Marcos lawyer made the statement after Robredo asked the PET to abandon the 50 percent threshold for shading of ballots and instead adopt the 25 percent threshold that the Commission on Elections has set.
Rodriguez said that since the filing of the election protest against Robredo in June 2016, the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, had acquired jurisdiction over the case.
“Since it is the rules of the tribunal that shall apply, her invocation of the 25 percent threshold rule is erroneous as it was made by the Comelec only on Sept. 6, 2016, four months after the elections,” the Marcos lawyer said.
However, Rodriguez found Robredo’s move as an attempt “to cheat the Filipino people again by trying to change the rules in the middle of the game. “
“It is an obvious ploy on the part of the Comelec, then led by the resigned chairman Andres Bautista, to favor Robredo once the revision process starts,” Rodriguez said.
In her urgent motion for reconsideration of the April 10 ruling of the PET, Robredo through her lawyer Romulo Macalintal argued that the 50 percent threshold would disenfranchise voters who failed to adhere to the said threshold even though their votes had already been counted as valid by the vote counting machines and confirmed by the Random Manual Audit Committee for passing the 25 percent threshold.
The PET, in its ruling last April 10, denied Robredo’s plea for the tribunal to use the 25 percent threshold saying that Comelec Resolution 8804, as amended by Comelec Resolution 9164, failed to mention the threshold raised by Robredo’s camp.
Besides, the PET noted that its decision is consistent with the Court rules.
The tribunal said the 2010 PET rules specify the 50 percent threshold and that the 2018 Revisor’s Guide “did not impose a new threshold.”
However, Robredo, in her appeal, noted that the Comelec informed the PET on September 2016 through a letter about its use of the 25 percent threshold in declaring votes as valid.
Robredo said the threshold adopted by the Comelec is designed to scan every oval on the ballot and count as vote those that contain appropriate marks based on pre-determined sharing threshold.
Although the voters are told to fully shade the ballots, the shading threshold was set at 25 percent of the oval space.
Comelec said the purpose is to ensure that votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading.
Robredo said with the PET’s ruling declaring that the threshold be at 50 percent, “the physical count is now running inconsistent with the results based on the Election Returns, Statement of Votes by Precinct, Ballot Images and the Voter’s Verifiable Audit Paper Trial (VVPAT).”
The Vice President added that not only her votes will be affected by the 50 percent threshold, but the votes of Marcos.
“Hence, both parties will benefit in the application of the 25 percent threshold percentage during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots,” she said.
Macalintal cited an “inconsistency” between the election results in 2016 and the physical vote count that began April 2, such as in Balatan, Camarines Sur’s Barangay Laganac, Clustered Precinct No. 16.
The camp of Robredo said she was able to get 358 votes in the precinct, but Marcos only earned 17 votesUpon the application of the 50 percent threshold in the manual recount, Robredo lost 12 votes and Marcos lost none.
Her lawyer said “discretion is now given during the appreciation of ballots on whether these valid votes should be given back to her.”
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