MANILA, Philippines – Members of a multi-sectoral group called Bantay Nakaw Coalition, men and women alike, shaved their heads in front of the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday, June 11, to call on the justices to acknowledge the 25% shading threshold in the ballots for the 2016 vice presidential race.
Despite strong rains and winds that battered Manila Monday morning, members of the coalition – composed of youth, urban poor, and anti-Marcos organizations – had their heads shaved so only 25% of their hair was left, in a symbolic appeal to the Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
The PET earlier issued a decision that it would apply a 50% shading threshold as revisors conduct initial recount of the votes of Vice President Leni Robredo and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. It means that the vote would only be counted for the candidate if the oval on the ballot is at least 50% shaded.
“Nangangamba kami sa posibilidad na hindi lumitaw ang tunay na pasya ng taumbayan noong 2016 elections dahil sa teknikalidad. Buong galang kaming nananawagan sa PET na huwag itong mangyari,” the group told PET in a letter.
(We are worried about the possibility that the decision of the Filipino people in the 2016 elections wouldn't be recognized because of a technicality. We are respectfully calling on the PET not to let this happen.)
The group added: “Nanganganib na mauwi sa wala ang karapatan naming mamili ng karapat-dapat na pinuno at masayang ang aming mga boto noong 2016 elections bunsod ng pagpayag ng PET sa 50% threshold sa ginagawang manual recount sa bise presidente."
(Our right to choose our leader is at risk of being disregarded because of the PET's decision to apply a 50% shading threshold in the ongoing manual recount for the vice president.)
The PET is conducting manual recount of pilot provinces after Marcos accused Robredo of electoral fraud after the latter beat him in the 2016 vice presidential elections by just 263,473 votes.
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler