PET sources deny 'indefinite suspension' of recount as claimed by Leni, Bongbong camps

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 22 2019 06:02 PM

MANILA - Several sources from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal on Tuesday denied claims from lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo and former Sen. Bongbong Marcos that the recount for the vice presidential race has been suspended indefinitely.

In a text message to reporters Tuesday, lawyer Beng Sardillo from the Robredo camp said the revisors were advised on Monday that the revision will be suspended.

“PET did not give them any reason for the suspension,” she said.

Marcos’ lawyer, George Garcia, also said in a text message that the suspension was relayed “informally” during the revision day on Monday “when all the revisors were already there.”

He added, no reasons were cited and the suspension is “until further notice.”

But at least two sources from the PET called the report “false” or “fake.”

Another source from the PET however said that the suspension was only on certain precincts, based on the deliberations of the SC en banc on Tuesday morning.

The SC sits as the PET in deciding electoral protests of presidential and vice presidential candidates.

According to the source, the justices agreed that the revision in precinct 8 of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental will be suspended due to wet ballots, with the head revisor being directed to use decrypted ballot images instead.

Revision in clustered precinct 42 in Barangay Sabang, Valencia, the source said, was also suspended because “no election return is in (the) ballot box.”

“Revision to proceed as to all other contested precincts,” the source added.

Another source from the PET told ABS-CBN News that what happened was “technically not a suspension” and “more like a lack of ballots to be revised.”

The source said there are no more physical ballot boxes for revision and the break in the recount will be used to “train the revisors to conduct revision using the decrypted ballots” in the case of wet ballots.

In a press conference last week, lawyer Romulo Macalintal from the Robredo camp said the PET has finished the recount or revision of "properly kept" ballots in the 3 pilot provinces chosen by Marcos: Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

In these ballots, revision was done using the physical ballots.

He said there are more than a hundred precincts left where the ballots were wet and the PET would need to use decrypted ballot images in the revision.

"We are happy with the results because we could not see any recovery. Nagta-tally physical results with count generated by vote-counting machines," he told reporters.

The PET has not released any results of the revision. 

SC Spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said the PET will issue a statement to clarify the report on the alleged suspension of the recount late Tuesday.