PET orders Comelec to comment on VP appeal

MANILA The Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ordered the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file a comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by Vice President Leni Robredo, which seeks the use of the 25-percent threshold in the ongoing ballot recount for the May 2016 vice presidential race.

In a six-page notice dated July 10 obtained on Friday, the PET gave the Comelec 10 days to file its own comment, independent of that of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

"Direct the Commission on Elections to file its own Comment on the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration (of the resolution dated April 10, 2018) with Reiterative Prayer to Immediately Direct the Head Revisors to Use the 25% Threshold Percentage in the Revision, Recount and Re-Appreciation of Ballots dated April 18, 2018 filed by counsel for protestee Robredo, within a Non-Extendible period of 10 days from notice hereof," the resolution, signed by Clerk of the Tribunal Edgar Aricheta, read.

In its manifestation and motion, the OSG asked the PET to affirm its ruling last April, upholding the 50-percent shading threshold in determining the validity of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race.

The OSG argued that there is no basis for the High Court to grant Robredo's motion.

As the People's Tribune, it is the Solicitor General's duty to present to the Honorable Tribunal the position he perceives to be in the best interest of the State, notwithstanding the stance of the Comelec on the issue of whether the Honorable Tribunal correctly ruled that it has no basis to impose a 25% threshold in determining whether a vote is valid, it said.

The OSG also sought an extension of the tribunal's order to comment on behalf of the Comelec so it could study the issue and take the position of the PET.

In 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 re-appreciation of the ballots, to expedite the proceedings for lack of merit.

Last April 19, Robredo filed a motion for reconsideration, asking 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.

Meanwhile, also in the July 10 resolution, the PET denied the plea of the camp of former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. to conduct an investigation on the Laguna outing of its personnel and a member of the revision team of Robredo.

PET said investigation on the matter has been conducted and was already concluded.

On June 29, 2016, Marcos filed the protest, claiming that Robredo's camp 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. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency