PET letter confirms 'suspension' of VP recount

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2019 10:00 AM | Updated as of Jan 23 2019 11:47 AM

MANILA - (UPDATE) A letter of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal addressed to parties of the vice-presidential electoral protest confirmed that the revision proceedings were suspended "until further notice," contrary to its earlier statement that the recount will resume later this month.

In copies of the letter dated January 22 obtained by ABS-CBN News from 3 independent sources, the PET told the parties to the recount: "This is to confirm the announcement made by the PET Ad Hoc Committee yesterday (January 21, 2019) regarding the suspension of revision proceedings in the above-captioned electoral protest case."

"The revision proceedings will resume until further notice," it said.

Sources from the PET and the camps of Vice President Leni Robredo and former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr confirmed the contents of the letter.

ABS-CBN News is trying to get an official statement from the PET.

Two sources from the tribunal on Tuesday said a news report about the indefinite suspension of the recount was "false/fake."

The press release from the PET later the same day was also silent as to the suspension, except to say that "the Tribunal shall prepare for the use of decrypted ballot images in the revision proceedings," which will resume on January 28.

Consistent with the press release, the letter also said the suspension was "to give way for the Tribunal to prepare for revision using the decrypted ballots and/or election paraphernalia," but that it will resume "until further notice."

The letter bore the letterhead of the PET and was signed by Edgar Aricheta, clerk of the tribunal.

Sought for comment, George Garcia, Marcos' lead counsel said in a text message this is "subject to the wisdom and discretion of the Tribunal." However, their camp would appreciate receiving clarifications as to the date of the resumption and the reason cited, he added.

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal from the Robredo camp is set to hold a press conference on the issue this Wednesday.