MANILA - The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), started on Monday the recount of votes for the election protest of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. against Vice-President Leni Robredo.
Marcos had claimed "massive cheating" caused him to lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race by some 260,000 votes. The ballots, which were counted by machine, will be tallied again manually by the PET.
The vote recount Marcos sought will first cover the pilot areas of his protest: the provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo, all known bailiwicks of Robredo, the PET had said.
It was the first time that PET held an actual recount of votes since the body was created by the 1987 Constitution to tackle electoral protests in the presidential and vice presidential races.
The manual count was held at the SC-Court of Appeals Gymnasium on Padre Faura, Ermita, Manila.
Robredo has a pending counter-protest case against Marcos, also with the PET. It covers 31,278 precincts while Marcos’ protest covers 132,446 precincts.
The Vice President's camp last week signed a motion to withdraw all pending pleadings before the PET to avoid delays in the recount.
Marcos, on the other hand, signed a manifestation to withdraw pending motions and not to file more pleas to avoid possible delays.
Victory in Marcos' poll protest would cement his family's remarkable political comeback, 31 years after a "People Power" revolution saw millions of people take to the streets to end his father's 20-year rule.