MANILA - The lawyer of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr on Wednesday described as a "non-issue" the 25 percent ballot shading threshold to be used in the recount of votes between Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo.
Speaking to ANC, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, was just stating "as a matter of fact, that apparently the Commission on Elections decreased the threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent."
He said the PET rejected claims of Comelec and the Robredo camp that the tribunal was "timely informed" about the decrease in the shading threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent.
"For us, the 50 percent (shading threshold) is a non-issue. It was just brought up by Mrs. Robredo," he said in an ANC interview.
He said the PET also noted it is premature for Mrs. Robredo to claim a "systematic decrease" in her votes "because what we’re doing now in the manual recount and judicial revision are all preliminaries."
"All evidence, all inclusions or reclusions will be elevated up to the tribunal, will be sitting en banc, for the appreciation of whatever evidence is presented before them before it finally decides kung ano yung bibilangin at hindi bibilangin," he said.
In its decision, the PET said is partially granting Robredo's motion to set aside the use of the 50 percent threshold in the revision proceedings.
It also directed head revisors to refer to the election returns to verify "the total number of votes as read and counted by the vote counting machines."
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, making the 2016 vice-presidential race the tightest in recent Philippine history. He had alleged that various irregularities led to his defeat.
Rodriguez said the Marcos camp is looking forward to the resumption of the manual recount and judicial revision next Monday, when they will proceed with the ballots from Negros Oriental.
He said they are looking forward to completing the procedure on the 3 pilot provinces where they alleged massive fraud to be completed by November.
PET rejects Marcos move to disallow ballot images in VP vote recount
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal also denied Wednesday the Marcos camp's opposition to the use of ballot images in the manual vote recount relating to his poll protest against Vice President Robredo.
The PET said Marcos did not show proof of his claim that the decrypted ballot images are compromised and are not faithful images of the paper ballots used in the 2016 polls.
"The Tribunal observes that, other than protestant's allegation that the decrypted ballot images are not faithful images of the paper ballots, he has not submitted any proof or evidence to show that the decrypted ballot images are compromised or that they are dubious or questionable. Mere allegations are not proof," the tribunal said on page 15 of its ruling.
The PET noted that it is inconsistent for Marcos' camp to oppose the use of the ballot images "when he himself moved for the decryption and printing of the ballot images."
"More importantly, protestant was represented in the entire process of decryption, from the Comelec decryption of the SD cards to its printing of the decrypted ballot images," the tribunal noted.
"Protestant's representatives were allowed to observe the Comelec's process of decryption and were even required by the Comelec to authenticate the printed ballot images by signing each and every page thereof, together with representatives of protestee, the Comelec and the Tribunal."
The PET noted the Comelec was able to sufficiently explain that the presence of squares on the ballot images does not diminish the evidentiary value of the images.