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Comelec ordered to comment on VP recount threshold rule

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By Rey Panaligan

The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) directed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to file in 10 days its comment on Robredo’s motion to reconsider its ruling that only ballots which were shaded at least 50 per cent should be considered as valid votes in the on-going manual recount and revision of ballots in the contested 2016 vice presidential election.

Headed by Atty. Ed Ancheta, the The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), conducts an inspection of the venue where the manual recount and revision of ballots in three provinces identified by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. in his protest against Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo, will be held. (ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN)

(ALI VICOY / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Direct the Comelec to file its own Comment on the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration (of the resolution dated April 10, 2018) with Reiterative Prayer to Immediately Direct the Head Revisors to Use the Twenty Five (25%) Threshold Percentage in the Revision, Recount and Re-Appreciation of Ballots dated April 18, 2018 filed by counsel for protestee Robredo, within a Non-Extendible period of 10 days from notice hereof,” the resolution stated.

Earlier, the OSG had asked the PET to dismiss Robredo’s motion for reconsideration and affirm the ruling that only ballots that were shaded at least 50 per cent should be counted as valid votes.

It said: “As the People’s Tribune, it is the Solicitor General’s duty to present to the Honorable Tribunal the position he perceives to be in the best interest of the State, notwithstanding the stance of the Comelec on the issue of whether the Honorable Tribunal correctly ruled that it has no basis to impose a 25 per cent threshold in determining whether a vote is valid.”

In her motion for reconsideration, Robredo said that allowing a 50 per cent threshold would disenfranchise voters because votes that fell below the 50 per cent threshold have already been counted as valid by the vote counting machines and confirmed by the Random Manual Audit Committee.

She cited a 2016 Comelec letter stating that while voters were instructed to shade fully the ovals in the ballots, “the shading threshold was set at about 25 per cent of the oval space.”

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