By Raymund Antonio
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo has asked the Supreme Court to disregard the comment of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) in the election protest of former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Robredo’s lead counsel Romulo Macalintal filed a 13-page counter manifestation with the SC on Solicitor General Jose Calida’s position backing the 50 percent ballot shading threshold in the ongoing recount for the vice presidency.
Macalintal told the SC, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, that the OSG has “no personal knowledge” to conclude the 50 percent threshold should be applied.
“Simply put, OSG is now providing a venue for losing candidates to disregard the sovereign will of the electorate by applying different rules from those adopted and used during the elections by Comelec,” Macalintal said.
“This simply must be done. This erroneous position taken by OSG will erode the very foundations of our democracy,” he added.
Reporters covering Robredo on Monday obtained a copy of Macalintal’s counter manifestation dated July 13.
The Robredo camp asserted that PET Calida’s opinion on the shading threshold issue should be disregarded since no one from his office “attended and observed the ongoing revision, recount and re-appreciation of ballots.”
“Thus, the OSG has no basis to once more make a reckless conclusion that the application of the 50 threshold percentage does not disenfranchise the voters,” said Macalintal.
The Vice President wants to apply a 25 percent voting threshold in the recount, claiming it was applied during the 2016 elections and changing it would disenfranchise voters.
But on July 6, Calida filed a manifestation asking the PET to affirm its ruling that only ballots shaded at least 50 percent should be counted as valid votes.
In effect, Robredo’s lawyer claimed OSG wants to “disregard the integrity “of the automated election system (AES) as well as the results of the elections by applying a new rule.
Macalintal argued that OSG is taking a “dangerous position, where the results of the elections will be changed by way of an election protest.”
“How can OSG now claim that the continued application of the 50 percent threshold percentage is not resulting to a disenfranchisement of votes?” he asked.