SC seeks Comelec comment on vote shading threshold

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 13 2018 11:58 AM | Updated as of Jul 13 2018 03:17 PM

MANILA - (UPDATE) The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has directed the Commission on Elections to comment on Vice President Leni Robredo’s plea for lowering the threshold percentage of valid votes in the ongoing election recount.

The PET wants the poll body to file its own comment after the Office of the Solicitor General sided with the tribunal's earlier resolution that upheld that 50 percent of oval shading is a valid vote. 

In a six-page resolution dated July 10, 2018, the PET gave Comelec a non-extendible period of 10 days to file its own comment.

The solicitor general has urged the PET to affirm its decision declaring that Robredo’s bid for the lowering to 25 percent of the current 50 percent has “no basis” in the determination of valid votes. 

Solicitor General Jose Calida argued that the PET is vested by the Constitution with the “sole” power to judge presidential and vice-presidential contests, and promulgate its own rules.

The PET, in its decision junking Robredo's motion, said resolutions which state Comelec's procedure for the recount of ballots in election protests within its jurisdiction "does not mention a 25 percent threshold."

In her motion before the tribunal, the Vice President said the 50 percent shading threshold “disenfranchises” voters.

The Vice President has said she wanted the PET to give her a fair fight in the recount by using the same standards of the Comelec on counting the votes during the 2016 polls. 

She earlier cited Comelec Minute Resolution No. 16-0600, which informed the PET of the application of the 25 percent threshold percentage used during the 2016 elections. 

Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos also opposed Robredo's 25 percent threshold bid, arguing that changing the PET rules in favor of the vice president, “would be the height of injustice” especially since the recount has already gone full speed.

The tribunal is in the middle of its manual recount of votes for Marcos’ protest’s three pilot provinces: Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental. 

Marcos had claimed "massive cheating" caused him to lose to Robredo in the 2016 vice-presidential race by some 260,000 votes.