Insiders in the ongoing recount by the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) revealed yesterday that about 5,000 votes for Robredo have so far been invalidated after two weeks of recount of the ballots from her home province Camarines Sur.
Edd Gumban
Leni Robredo may lose votes due to shading limit
Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - April 17, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo may lose a significant number of votes after the recount in her election face-off with former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in 2016.

Insiders in the ongoing recount by the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) revealed yesterday that about 5,000 votes for Robredo have so far been invalidated after two weeks of recount of the ballots from her home province Camarines Sur.

The reduction was a result of the PET ruling last week, which denied her motion asking the tribunal to count the “one-fourth shaded” votes in the ongoing recount, supposedly pursuant to the threshold set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and that also declared as valid only the votes that were at least 50 percent shaded.

After 210 clustered precincts covered by the revision so far, the votes for Robredo were reduced by around 5,000.

Former Comelec chairman Sixto Brillantes disagreed with the court’s denial, arguing that the PET should have asked the poll body first before making the ruling.

“Why would they (PET) use different threshold for two positions (presidential and vice presidential)?” he said, pointing out that a 25 percent threshold was used for the random manual audit in the 2016 elections.

He added that protests filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and House of Representatives (HRET) Electoral Tribunal also used the 25 percent threshold.

The PET earlier cited Comelec Resolution 8804, as amended by Comelec Resolution 9164, which, it said, does not mention the threshold raised by Robredo’s camp.

It added that this is consistent with court rules, adding that while the 2010 PET rules state the 50 percent threshold, the 2018 Revisor’s Guide “did not impose a new threshold.”

Brillantes said the PET and Comelec should resolve the threshold issue while only a few ballots have been so far counted manually.

According to sources who requested anonymity due to the confidentiality rule imposed by the Tribunal on revisors and parties in the case, they expect the 50 percent threshold to further take its toll on Robredo’s cause as the recount progresses.

In Camarines Sur alone, the revisors are projecting a “significant” deduction in the votes for Robredo that would have impact on her 263,473 margin of votes over Marcos in the final and official count for the vice presidential race.

“It’s still a long way to go but with the figures coming out, we can see a pattern that could lead to substantial recovery or change in the results of the elections, which could favor the protestant (Marcos),” one insider bared.

The ongoing recount covers a total of 5,418 clustered precincts in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental, the three pilot provinces chosen by Marcos in his protest against Robredo.

During the first two weeks of recount, several irregularities were raised over the discovery of wet ballot boxes, unused or excess ballots with shaded votes for Robredo, missing audit logs and missing voters’ receipts in Camarines Sur’s Bato, Baao, Balatan, Bula and Sagñay towns.

The camp of Marcos claimed that these discoveries could be proof of election fraud. But 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. They also said that the wet ballots and missing audit logs are not proof of irregularities.

The ballots, which were counted by machine, are being tallied again manually by the PET.

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 the protest, he contested the results from 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities but sought for a recount only in the three provinces.

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.

In a keynote speech during yesterday’s commencement exercises of the Our Lady of Fatima University at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, Robredo took a swipe at people “who take power that is not theirs” and those “who suppress the voice of the people in the name of power and political ambition.”  – With Helen Flores

FERDINAND MARCOS JR. LENI ROBREDO PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL
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