The recount has entered its 3rd month, since it started on April 2. Ballots from Camarines Sur, one of Marcos’ identified pilot provinces, were first to be opened by the PET.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Solgen: No basis for PET to apply 25 percent threshold in VP recount
Kristine Joy Patag ( - July 6, 2018 - 3:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Solicitor General has urged the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to junk Vice President Leni Robredo’s appeal to apply the 25 percent threshold in determining the validity of votes in the ongoing vice presidential election recount.

In a 21-page manifestation and motion, Solicitor General Jose Calida urged the tribunal to uphold its earlier issued resolution dated April 10, 2018, saying that valid votes are those shaded by at least 50 percent.

Calida represents the Commission on Elections that was ordered to comment on Robredo’s appeal. The tribunal also ordered the camp of former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to answer Robredo's plea.

The OSG also asked the PET to grant the Comelec 10 days to comment on Robredo’s urgent motion of reconsideration on the application of the 25 percent threshold.

READ: VP recount: Leni insists on validity of partly shaded votes

PET, not Comelec, has jurisdiction

The OSG said that in vice presidential elections, it is the PET that has “the sole authority to judge all contests” and the Comelec has no jurisdiction over the case.

Calida cited Section 4, Article VII of the Constitution that provides that the PET has exclusive jurisdiction over election contests relating to the president or vice president.

He also stressed that the matter on what percentage of threshold should be applied in determining the validity of votes was already settled by the tribunal, as stated in the 2010 Rules of PET.

“The determination of the 50% threshold is in the 2010 Rules of the PET, which has the legal authority under the Constitution to promulgate such rules,” the solicitor general said.

“Thus, the decision to choose the 50% threshold cannot be questioned by the protestee,” Calida added.

In her appeal before the PET, Robredo insisted that the Comelec had set the threshold at 25-percent and that it informed the court about it through a letter in September 2016. The said letter informed the court that the 25 percent threshold would be used for the May 9, 2016 national and local elections.

"In other words, when a mark covers at least 25 percent of the oval, said mark is supposed to be considered a vote by the system," Robredo said.

But Calida pointed out that the letter cited by Robredo actually referred to “an optical scan counting” and not manual counting, which is being carried out by the tribunal.

No disenfranchisement of votes

Calida also denied that votes would be disenfranchised if the higher threshold will be imposed in the recount since the Comelec has reiterated that voters need to fully shade the oval for their chosen candidate.

“Differently stated, insofar as the voters were concerned, they knew that for their votes to be counted they should fully shade the oval space,” Calida said.

“Therefore, the supposed disenfranchisement that would result in the application of the 50% threshold has no basis,” the solicitor general insisted.

Calida’s argument was an answer to Robredo’s point that both camps might risk losing votes due to the threshold.

“More importantly, while it is true that the votes of protestee Robredo, as counted by the VCM, are being systematically decreased, the same is true for the votes of protestant Marcos as well,” Robredo’s appeal read.

“Hence, both parties would benefit in the application of the 25 percent threshold percentage during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots,” she added.

The recount has entered its 3rd month, since it started on April 2. Ballots from Camarines Sur, one of Marcos’ identified pilot provinces, were first to be opened by the PET.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with