By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Paolo “Bam” Aquino IV on Friday said he hopes the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) will heed the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) position of holding the ballot shading threshold at 25 percent in the vote recount covering Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“With no less than the Comelec saying that the 25-percent threshold should be used in the manual recount, we expect the PET to use it as guide in making the right decision,” Aquino said in a statement.
“In the end, I am confident that VP Leni will be vindicated from the false accusations made against her and her victory will be proven,” Aquino stressed.
Aquino acted as Robredo’s campaign manager during the May 2016 elections. Robredo won against five other vice presidential candidates but it was Marcos — her closest rival in the VP — who contested her victory before the PET.
In its comment to the PET on the motion for reconsideration filed by Vice President Robredo, the Comelec informed the PET that the vote-counting machines used the 25-percent shading threshold in the 2016 elections to ensure votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading or that no accidental or unintended small marks are counted as votes.
Earlier, VP Robredo filed a motion for reconsideration after the PET allowed the use of the 50-percent threshold in the manual recount for vice president.
If used, the 50-percent threshold, which was utilized in the 2010 elections, could lead to massive disenfranchisement of votes for both camps, Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo Macalintal insisted.
But the camp of the former senator rejected the Comelec’s manifestation saying the poll body is justifying the electoral fraud committed by Robredo’s camp.
“As it was made suspiciously four months after the May 2016 elections and as an after thought in support of Robredo’s belated assertions, COMELEC’s position on the threshold percentage is not only patently illegal but at best meant to justify the cheating done to favor Mrs. Robredo and sway the public opinion to generate support on her continuing attempt to cheat even more,” said Atty. Vic Rodriguez, spokesman of Marcos, in a statement.
“We are not at all surprised with the COMELEC position. The conspiracy is so clear and the co-conspirator is not expected to admit it,” he added.
Rodriguez said the purpose of the election protest is primarily to question how the COMELEC, then under the tutelage of the disgraced and impeached Andres Bautista, have misconducted the election, undertaken a false canvassing and manipulated the transmission of results in favor of Robredo.
“By COMELEC’s own admission that it is only the Supreme Court, sitting as the Electoral Tribunal, that has sole and exclusive jurisdiction to try and decide cases involving the qualification, election and returns for the position of Vice President, it had effectively divested itself of any legal standing to rule on any matter pending before the PET,” Rodriguez stressed.