In this April 19, 2018 photo, Vice President Leni Robredo and lawyer Romulo Macalintal show a copy of a motion they filed before the Supreme Court.
Edd Gumban
Robredo lawyer: Using 50-percent threshold will void votes for Marcos too
Audrey Morallo ( - May 28, 2018 - 4:05pm

MANILA, Philippines — Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos' opposition to counting partially-shaded ballots will mean the disenfranchisement of millions of voters during the 2016 elections, including those who supported him, Vice President Leni Robredo's lead lawyer said.

Romulo Macalintal, the vice president’s lawyer, said that the counting ballots with ovals shaded at least 25 percent during the 2016 polls was already confirmed by the Commission on Elections in an en banc resolution dated Sept. 6, 2016, adopting the recommendation of Commissioner Luie Guia.

“I cannot believe what I just heard. Mr. Marcos is insisting that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal should only validate ballots with 50 percent threshold shading. This will mean disenfranchisement of millions of voters in the 2016 polls, including those who voted for him,” the veteran election lawyer said in a statement.

Early on Monday, Marcos filed a 13-page opposition to the petition filed by Robredo asking the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to apply the 25-percent threshold in the ongoing recount of votes.

In arguing for the use of the 50-percent threshold, the son of the late dictator said that there was no “categorical declaration in the COMELEC Resolution No. 16-0600” that the 25-percent threshold was adopted by the COMELEC en banc to determine the valid votes during the recount and revision of ballots.

Marcos also argued that while it was true that a resolution was issued removing the 50-percent limit, it did not impose a new threshold in the shading of the ballot ovals.

“It would be the height of injustice if the rules on the appreciation of ballots, specifically with regard to the shading threshold, would be amended in the middle of recount/revision proceedings,” he said.

According to Macalintal, Marcos' position is an indication of a “grand design”, but did not explain what the former senator's supposed scheme is.
He said that, with the petition Marcos, demonstrated that he is willing to change the rules of the game and disregard the votes of Filipinos whose constitutional right to suffrage would be affected.

In her petition, Robredo argued that setting the threshold at 50 percent would disenfranchise voters whose 25-percent-shaded ovals were already counted by the vote counting machines and confirmed by the manual audit committee.

“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,” she said.

Marcos is contesting the results of the 2016 vice presidential elections, alleging that vote counting machines were manipulated by the previous administration to favor Robredo, who was its official candidate.

The recount of ballots is currently underway in three pilot provinces identified by Marcos. For the PET to order a recount in all provinces identified by the former senator in his election protest, he should have a substantial recovery of votes in the three areas.

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