MANILA, Philippines – The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo said ballot boxes from Iloilo City should not be retrieved by the Supreme Court (SC) for the ongoing ballot recount in the vice presidential electoral protest.
Lawyer Emil Marañon III, one of Robredo's legal consultants, explained that Iloilo City is "separate and independent" from Iloilo province, one of the 3 pilot provinces chosen by defeated vice presidential bet Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr for the initial ballot recount. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
The SC, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), began retrieving ballot boxes from all over Iloilo province on Monday, May 21. Ballot boxes from Iloilo City are scheduled to be retrieved on Tuesday, May 22.
"We have to remember one of Bongbong Marcos' 3 pilot provinces is Iloilo, and we know for a fact that Iloilo City is not part of Iloilo. So we're looking into the possibility of clarifying with the Supreme Court as regards to the coverage of the retrieval here in Iloilo," said Marañon in Filipino.
Iloilo City was converted into a chartered city that is independent of Iloilo province through Commonwealth Act No. 158.
During elections, Iloilo City's certificate of canvass is separate from that of Iloilo province. A certificate of canvass is the document summarizing the total number of votes garnered by each candidate in the city or municipality.
Aside from Iloilo province, the other two pilot provinces chosen by Marcos are Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental. The PET is currently recounting ballots from Camarines Sur.
The PET said the results of the initial ballot recount in these 3 pilot provinces will determine if the rest of Marcos' electoral protest has merit.
The High Court already junked Robredo's petition to consider ballot ovals shaded by at least one-fourth or 25% as valid votes in the ongoing ballot recount. Instead, the PET will count only ballot ovals that are half-shaded.
This is despite a Commission on Elections resolution issued in September 2016 stating that the vote-counting machines were configured to consider ballot ovals shaded by at least 25% as valid votes during the May 2016 polls.