By Jeffrey Damicog
Former Senator Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr. Monday (May 28) asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to maintain the 50 percent threshold for shaded ovals to be considered valid in the ongoing manual recount of the 2016 vice presidential polls.
In the comment/opposition he submitted, Marcos, who filed the election protest believing he should have won as vice president in the 2016 polls, said the PET should not grant Vice President Leni Robredo’s motion for reconsideration which insisted that the threshold be at 25 percent.
“Concomitant to the foregoing, it is incumbent upon the PET to obey and abide by its own rules of procedure which mandates the application of the 50% shading threshold in election protest cases,” read his pleading.
“This Honorable Tribunal should not be swayed by the protester’s (Robredo) illusive antics and propaganda,” said Marcos.
Concerned that her votes would be greatly reduced during the recount, Robredo sought the 25 percent threshold since she claimed, the Commission on Election (Comelec) itself set but she got denied by the PET.
“This Honorable Tribunal correctly disputed the false submission of protester when it pointed out that Comelec Resolution No. 8804, as amended by Comelec Resolution No. 9164, which is Comelec’s procedure for the recount of ballots in election protests within its jurisdiction, did not mention a 25% threshold,” Marcos stated.
Prior the amendments, Marcos cited that Comelec Resolution No. 8804 stated that “any shading less than 50% shall not be considered a valid vote” which he observed is “identical” to the 2010 PET Rules which provides that “marks or shades which are less than 50% of the oval not be considered as valid votes.”
Marcos pointed out “the Random Manual Audit Guideline, which was supposedly pegged the shading threshold at 25% percent of the oval, cannot be applied and/or implemented for vote-appreciation purposes during the judicial recounts and revision of ballots in an election protest as it is intended exclusively for use by the RMAT (random manual audit teams) in the random manual audit activities.”
“Remarkably, even the Random Manuel Audit Guideline submitted by protester Robredo to support her proposition has underscored that human eyes are less perceptive than the VCM (vote counting machines), hence it is only logical that the standard shading threshold for the purposes of visual (manual) appreciation of votes by the Revision/Recount Committees in election protest cases should be higher than the proposed 25% shading threshold for it to perceived by the human eyes,” he said.
The former lawmaker also emphasized that the PET is an “independent Constitutional body” which is duly empowered to promulgate its own rules and procedures.
“Hence, it cannot be dictated upon nor be subject to the whims and caprices of the Comelec,” he said.
Marcos also accused Robredo of being guilty of laches which is “the failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should not have been done earlier.”
The former senator explained Robredo has already abandoned her right to move for the amendment of the 2010 PET Rules regarding the threshold “since her motion was filed only after the commencement of the revision proceedings in this election protest.”