By Rey Panaligan
Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to resolve immediately all pending incidents in the electoral protest filed against her by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In a motion, Robredo told the PET:
“Without pre-empting the resolution of the Honorable Tribunal, the result of the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots clearly confirm the victory of protestee Robredo.”
The manual recount and revision of ballots in three provinces – Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur — identified by Marcos in his protest started in April last year and ended last March 4.
The PET has yet to determine if it will proceed with the same process of manual recount and revision in 27 more provinces and cities covered in the Marcos’ protest.
Robredo was declared winner in the 2016 elections and was proclaimed vice president with 14.41 million votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14.15 million votes.
Marcos filed a protest while Robredo lodged a counter-protest and the two cases were consolidated by the PET.
Through lawyer Romulo Macalintal, Robredo said that with the completion of the revision and recount in the three provinces her lead over Marcos increased by over 15,000 votes.
The lawyers claimed the results of the vote recount confirmed the election victory of Robredo against Marcos in the vice presidential race.
“Without preempting the resolution of the Honorable Tribunal, the result of the revision, recount, and re-appreciation of the ballots clearly confirm the victory of protestee Robredo,” Macalintal and Sardillo said.
The Vice President defeated Marcos by a narrow 263,473 votes in the 2016 elections.
Speaking to reporters at the SC, Macalintal said Robredo’s winning margin increased by more than 15,000 votes after the manual count of votes.
The ballot recount yielded a result of 1,475,989 votes for Robredo against Marcos’ 1,275,522 votes or a margin of 200,467 votes in the three provinces.
“May mga balota na ang mga botante ay hindi masyadong nalagyan ng shade ang nasabing mga oval…Kaya iyong mga ganoong uri ng mga boto ay hindi binibilang ng vote-counting machines,” he said.
(There were ballots, where the oval was not shaded well by voters…That’s why these votes were not counted by vote-counting machines.)
“Ngunit kapag nagkaroon ng revision and recount, ito ay binibilang at lumalabas ( But when the revision and recount were done, these votes were counted),” Macalintal added.
In their motion, Robredo’s lawyers attributed the difference in the votes to the “application of the 50 percent threshold during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots.”
The Robredo camp also pointed out that the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal has declared that “there was no discrepancy” between the transmitted votes and the physical count during the revision of ballots, as noted in its decision on the electoral protest filed by former Camarines Sur Governor Luis Villafuerte against incumbent 3rd District Representative Gabriel Bordado.
The motion explained that the additional votes for Robredo came from “stray votes” or votes that were not counted by the machines because the voter only put a dot or merely checked the oval.
“The difference in the votes credited to the parties in the physical count of the ballots was due to the application of the 50 per cent percent threshold during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots,” the motion stated.
“Those kinds of votes were not counted by the machines, but if revision and recount were conducted, these are counted and it showed that close to 15,000 votes on our part that were not counted by the vote counting machines,” it added.
In the case of Marcos, the motion pointed out that the increase in the former senator’s number of votes was only 4,191 votes.
In a statement, Marcos lawyer, Vic Rodriguez, said the PET has yet to release the figures from the results of the manual recount and revision of ballot.
“What they have at the moment are all self-serving assumptions meant to mislead the Filipino people who have long been waiting for the result of the election protest…, the early resolution of which Mrs. Robredo have time and again suppressed by her delaying tactics.” Rodriguez said. (with a report from Raymund Antonio)