By Raymund Antonio
The lawyer of Vice President Leni Robredo warned the resignation of four head revisors from the Presidential Electoral Tribunal could trigger a “chilling effect” to the manual recount of votes for the 2016 vice presidential election.
Robredo’s lead counsel Romulo Macalintal said the revisors who resigned during the second day of recount last week was reminiscent of the walkout of vote tabulators in the snap elections then at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay City.
It was February 9, 1986, two days after the snap elections when National Computer Center employees walked out during the quick count of votes on allegations that results were manipulated in favor of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The group’s walkout was among the events that triggered the People Power Revolution then the ouster eventually of Marcos.
“Noong nag-resign iyong apat na head revisors, it gave a chilling effect because it was reminiscent of the walkout of several revisors doon sa snap elections sa PICC,” said Macalintal.
(When the four revisors resigned, it gave a chilling effect because it was reminiscent of the walkout of several revisors in the snap elections at PICC.)
The veteran lawyer demanded answers from the Supreme Court, acting as PET, on the resignation of the revisors in the ongoing recount for the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Robredo.
The PET revisor leads the three-member committee, which is also composed of one representative each from the Robredo and Marcos camps.
“The PET should explain and tell us what’s the reason why these people resigned,” said Macalintal.
Robredo defeated Marcos in the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.
But the namesake and son of the former dictator protested the results in 132,446 precincts in 27 provinces and cities.
Marcos identified the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental with 1,400 ballot boxes in 5,418 clustered precincts for the initial phase of recount and revision.
Both Robredo and Marcos camps were concerned the resignation of the four revisors may delay the recount process.
Marcos earlier issued a statement saying that the resignation should “not result in another round of delays especially now that we have started to uncover clear signs of fraud.”
“They are no ordinary revisors, having undergone rigid psychological test and meticulous screening by the PET. They must have a compelling reason for backing out and I am one with the Filipino people in asking why,” he said.
Robredo’s co-counsel Bernadette Sardillo also reacted to the revisors’ resignation, which she claimed was “unfortunate as this will once more cause delay in the proceedings.”