VP counsel presses claim on Leni votes in envelope for unused ballots

MANILA A lawyer of Vice President Maria Leonor Leni Robredo formally filed a "manifestation of grave concern" before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) over the mechanics of the recount before the body on the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr.

In a two-page pleading, lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the revision of the ballots should be conducted before all the members of the PET to expedite the proceedings.

Macalintal made the manifestation after one of the revision committees of the PET opened the ballot box from the municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur, which showed four official ballots purportedly containing votes in favor of Robredo inside the envelope for unused ballots.

He added that Robredo's representative sought to claim these four ballots but was informed that she cannot claim these ballots as there was no space in the revision report and was prohibited from making any comment on the revision reports and was instead advised to file a motion before the PET.

Macalaintal claimed that "by the time the PET is able to make any ruling on this issue, the revision, recount and reappreciation of the ballots in the said clustered precinct would have been already terminated" and that these four ballots will not be treated as uncontested ballots to the prejudice of Robredo.

"In summary, if incidents, such as this would need to be submitted to the Honorable Tribunal for proper ruling, then the revision, recount and reappreciation of the ballots should be conducted before all the members present to expedite the proceedings," he said.

Under PET Rules, the recount is limited to three provinces identified by Marcos Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Orientalwhich cover a total of 5,418 clustered precincts. The results of the recount or revision of the pilot provinces will determine whether Marcos' protest would proceed with the remaining 31,047 protested clustered precincts.

Each of the 40 existing revision committees will be composed of one head revisor, who is an employee of the PET, and one revisor each from Marcos and Robredo's respective teams.

Source: Philippine News Agency