MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo said she was elated at the Commission on Elections' (Comelec) assertion of the 25-percent oval shading rule for the vote recount prompted by former Sen. Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s electoral protest, saying this showed which side was lying.
The poll body's position, sent as a comment to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), was contrary to the body's earlier decision and opinion submitted by Solicitor General Jose Calida that the shading on ballots must be at least 50 percent for the vote to be considered valid, as Marcos' camp has been contending.
“Kino-confirm lang nito iyong matagal na nating sinasabi na noong nakaraang eleksyon, ang ginamit talagang threshold ay 25 percent. Nagpapakita kung sino sa amin iyong nagsisinungaling,” Robredo said.
(This confirms what we have long been saying that in the last elections, a 25-percent threshold was used. This just shows who between us is lying.)
Robredo reiterated that going against the Comelec's 25-percent prescription would mean disenfranchisement of votes cast during the 2016 elections.
"Ito 'yung mahalaga dito kasi sinabi ng Comelec na kapag hindi naging consistent doon sa 25 percent na ginamit noong eleksyon, maraming mga botante iyong madi-disenfranchise,” she said.
(That's what's important here because Comelec said that if [the threshold used in the recount] is not consistent with the 25 percent that was used in the elections, many voters will be disenfranchised.)
Robredo's legal counsel Romulo Macalintal likewise hailed Comelec's comment submitted to the PET.
“It is not only historical in the highly specialized field of election law, but more importantly it was a vindication of our voters’ Constitutional right of suffrage which was placed in danger by some procedural technicalities raised by Marcos in the course of the revision and recount of the ballots at the PET,” Macalintal said.
Macalintal, however, regretted that the 25 percent-shading issue is causing “undue and inconsiderable delay” in the ongoing recount conducted by the PET.
The PET is currently holding a manual recount of votes covering Marcos’ pilot protest provinces of Iloilo, Camarines Sur, and Negros Oriental.
Marcos filed a poll protest against Robredo after losing to her by merely 263,473 votes, making the 2016 vice-presidential race the tightest in recent Philippine history.