Bongbong Marcos has to rehabilitate his name for the presidency if he wins his electoral protest against the presumptive Vice President, Leni Robredo. This is after more than 32 years after his father’s fall during the controversial Edsa revolution or mutiny in1986. Currently, the Supreme Court clarifies that it does not explicitly side with Robredo’s plea to recognize ballots with ovals shaded 25 percent as valid votes. Contrary to the claim of Robredo and the Comelec, the tribunal was not aware that the commission used a 25-percent threshold. The Comelec resolution was not attached to the letter sent to the tribunal in September 2016. The Tribunal only partially granted Robredo’s plea to set aside an earlier resolution on the 50-percent threshold. Instead of it, the PET directs head revisers to “refer to the election returns. This is to verify the total number of votes as read and counted by the vote counting machines (VCM).” That can speed up Bongbong Marcos’ protest. Atty. Vic Rodriguez, the lawyer of the former Senator describes the highly magnified ruling bu the mainstream media as a “non-issue.”
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[VIDEO]: Robredo ‘happy’ over PET resolution on 25% shading threshold in 2016 polls
The Supreme Court Focuses on the Election Returns Verification
To verify votes using the election returns (ERs) “shall be strict. This is during the appreciation of ballots by the tribunal,” said the Supreme Court resolution. ERs refer to the electronic document prints produced by the voting machines. They tally the total votes of each candidate per precinct. The PET amends Rule 62 of the 2018 PET Revisor’s Guide that pertains to the segregation of contested votes, “effective immediately.” The rule did not mention the use of ERs previously. The PET notes that using ERs would achieve the objective of verifying how the VCMs read the votes.”
Speeding Up Marcos’ Protest
Using the ERs may speed up the revision process, or the identification of precincts, which show signs of significant anomalies. This would allow the procedure to be “more flexible and adaptive to calibrations of the voting or counting machines in the future,” the PET said. It points out that ERs could easily show discrepancies in the counting of votes, especially if the initial number did not match the physical count of ballots.
Robredo is Successful only on her Appeal
Robredo first questioned the rule in an April 5 motion The PET denied it in an April 10 resolution. Only when she filed an appeal did Robredo submit a copy of Comelec Resolution No. 16-0600d. It was dated Sept. 6, 2016, which served as the basis for her plea. Marcos opposed Robredo’s pleadings. The Office of the Solicitor General sided with him instead of the Comelec. SolGen Jose Calida agreed that the 25-percent threshold should be sustained.
Fear of Disenfranchising Voters
The Supreme Court said there was “no basis” to impose the 50-percent threshold. But, it maintained that when it drafted and approved the rule, it was “never informed of any official act of the Comelec” adopting the 25-percent threshold. Comelec Commissioner Luie Tito Guia did inform the PET about the 25-percent threshold on Sept. 6, 2016, letter. However, the tribunal said it was not given a copy. Robredo assailed the stricter 50-percent threshold supported by Marcos. She fears that this would disenfranchise voters who shaded their votes less thoroughly.
Highly Premature Claim