Robredo camp urges PET to resolve incidents in pilot provinces' vote recount
Elections lawyer Romulo Macalintal is Vice President Leni Robredo's lead counsel in the poll protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.
News5/Dale De Vera

Robredo camp urges PET to resolve incidents in pilot provinces' vote recount

(Philstar.com) - June 13, 2019 - 12:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday urged the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to wrap up the pending incidents involving the vote recount from three pilot provinces identified in the poll protest.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s legal counsel, filed an Urgent Motion to Immediately Resolve all Pending Incidents involving former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s electoral protest against the vice president.

The recount of the votes from Camarines Sur, Negors Oriental and Iloilo—Marcos’ identified three pilot provinces—started April 2 last year. Macalintal said the recount of the three provinces ended last March 4.

After the tribunal finishes its recount in the pilot provinces, it will decide whether to proceed in the vote revision on a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in Marcos’ election protest.

“Without pre-empting the resolution of the Honorable Tribunal, the result of the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots clearly confirm the victory of protestee Robredo,” the motion read.

Macalintal also claimed that after the ballot recount, Robredo’s winning margin in the three pilot provinces jumped to 278,215, which is 15,742 votes more than what the 2016 election returns showed.

In the table provided by Macalintal, Marcos received 14,159,535 votes after the recount. This number is 4,191 higher that the election returns.

Philstar.com could not independently verify the veracity of the numbers, as the tribunal has yet to release a report or update on the recount.

Marcos camp: No official PET findings yet

The camp of Marcos, for its part, stressed that the PET has yet to release the figures from the recount of the three provinces.

"What they have at the moment are all self-serving assumptions meant to mislead the Filipino people who have long been waiting for the result of the election protest filed by [Marcos], the early resolution of which Mrs. Robredo have time and again suppressed by her delaying tactics," Vic Rodriguez, Marcos' spokesperson, told reporters in a message.

He said that Robredo should instead focus her attention on answering the Commission on Audit report on the Office of the Vice President's Angat Buhay program.

READ: COA flags OVP over deficiencies in project implementation

Vote shading threshold

In an interview after the filing—the transcript of which was sent to reporters—Macalintal said that the additional 15,000 votes came from “stray votes” or votes that were not counted by the machines because the voter only put a dot or checked the oval.

“Those kinds of votes were not counted by the machines, but if revision and recount were conducted, these are counted and it showed that close to 15,000 [votes] on our part that were not counted by the vote counting machines,” the veteran elections lawyer said in a mix of English and Filipino.

Macalintal explained that they claim these votes as “stray votes.”

“The difference in the votes credited to the parties in the physical count of the ballots was due to the application of the fifty percent threshold during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots,” the motion read.

RELATED: PET sets aside 50-percent shading threshold for VP recountFULL TEXT: PET ruling on threshold issue in VP poll recount

‘Immediately resolve pending incidents’

Robredo’s camp also noted that a decision of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal dated Feb. 7, 2019 in the case involving the third legislative district of Camarines Sur province.

The Robredo camp quoted the ruling that read: “HRET found that there was no discrepancy between the transmitted results vis-a-vis the physical count of the ballots during the revision and re-appreciation of the ballots.”

They urged the tribunal to “immediately resolve” all pending incidents after the recount of the three pilot provinces. — Kristine Joy Patag with report from News5/Dale De Vera

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