Vice President Leni Robredo has extended her lead over Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. by over 15,000 votes after the manual recount in the three pilot provinces the former senator picked in his protest before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
In a resolution, the Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, on Friday said that Robredo’s overall, nationwide lead—after votes in Negros Oriental, Iloilo, and Camarines Sur were re-counted—increased from 263,473 to 278,566.
Marcos had picked the three provinces as part of his effort to prove that cheating happened in the 2016 polls.
Robredo got 1,510,178 votes from the pilot provinces as opposed to Marcos’ 204,512, after deducting votes from sustained objections and adding ones earned due to admitted claims, the PET found out.
These figures are higher than the votes Robredo and Marcos got as reflected in the provincial certificates of canvass — 1,493,517 for Robredo and 202,136 for Marcos, the tribunal added.
The PET voted to order the release of the initial report earlier this week. It also required the parties to comment on the report and to submit their respective memoranda on the “various issues relating to the jurisdiction and other matters relating to the third cause of action” within 20 days from receiving the notice.
Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Alfredo Caguioa dissented, arguing the case should have been dismissed.
Marcos’ supposed third cause of action is the annulment of 2016 election results for vice president in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao due to alleged terrorism, violence, force, threats, intimidation, pre-shading of ballots, and vote substitution.
Marcos is contesting Robredo’s victory in the 2016 elections, which he alleged was a product of electoral fraud.
He chose the three pilot provinces under Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules, which allows a protestant or counter-protestant to indicate provinces that “best exemplify the frauds or irregularities” alleged in the petition and subject them to an examination of ballots.
The same rule allows the tribunal to dismiss the case if the justices are convinced that the protestant or counter-protestant “will most probably fail to make out his case.”