Marcos asks PET to speed up VP poll recount

MANILA Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Wednesday asked the Supreme Court (SC) sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to speed up the recount on his electoral protest against Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo which has been ongoing almost two years after he lost the 2016 vice presidential race.

Two years is too long for the people to wait what happened, who is responsible, what can we do to avoid it in the future. If we still don't know the real results, two years is too long to keep the people waiting, and what were the true results in the last elections, Marcos told reporters outside the SC where he also meet his supporters who have been camping out in Padre Faura Street in Manila.

Marcos said that he is still hoping that the results will proclaim the truth and anomalies behind the vice-presidential polls will come out in time.

The former senator said he went to the PET to personally check on the system for the recount.

Kaya tayo andito para tingnan din ang revisors, para malaman kung paano ang patakbo ng recount. Mabagal ang recount. Baka naman meron pa tayong maitutulong kung saka-sakali. We're hoping to find ways to help the process to be finished as soon as possible (That's why we're here to check the revisors and for us to understand the process. The recount is slow. Perhaps we can do something to be of help), the former lawmaker stressed.

Marcos did not discuss merits of the case or any update on the recount due to the gag order issued by tribunal on both parties.

Last April 19, Robredo filed motion for reconsideration asked the PET to set aside its April 10 resolution denying her plea for the 25-percent threshold to be applied.

The threshold adopted by the Comelec is designed to scan every oval on the ballot and count as a valid vote those that contain appropriate marks based on pre-determined sharing threshold. Although the voters are told through the voter information to fully shade the ballots, the shading threshold was set at 25 percent of the oval space. Comelec said the purpose is to ensure that votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading.

Robredo wants the PET to "immediately direct the Head Revisors to use the 25-percent threshold percentage used by the Commission on Elections for the 09 May 2016 National and Local Elections in lieu of the 50 percent used in the 10 May 2010 National and Local Elections."

The granting of this prayer would benefit both her and Marcos, the motion said.

In its five-page resolution dated April 10, the PET denied Robredo's plea to direct the head revisors to apply the correct threshold percentage as set by the Comelec in the revision, recount and reappreciation of the ballots, in order to expedite the proceedings for lack of merit.

Protestee's (Robredo) claim that the Comelec, as purportedly confirmed by the Random Manual Audit Guidelines and Report, applies the 25 percent threshold percentage in determining a valid vote is inaccurate, the PET said.

The PET started the recount last April 2 and said it could not determine yet when the recount would be finished.

The recount will be conducted Monday until Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with two 15-minute breaks and a one-hour lunch break.

The time limit per ballot box with less than 300 votes will be 5.5 hours while for 300-700 votes will be 8.25 hours and for more than 700 votes will be 11 hours.

During the revision, the head revisor will segregate and examine the contents of each ballot box and on the basis thereof, determine the number of votes received by each party.

At the same time, the party representatives will be allowed to claim and object to ballots, as they deem necessary. If the revision committee fails to comply with the time limit, they shall proceed to revise another ballot box and the parties shall be deemed to have waived their right to claim or object to the remaining ballots.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May that year.

In his protest, Marcos contested the results from 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clusters, covering 27 provinces and cities.

Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos' 14,155,344 votes. (With reports from Red Andador, OJT/PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency