Recount rule makes it difficult for Robredo to claim 4 votes

MANILA, Philippines – On just the second day of the recount of votes in the electoral protest case, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo went to the Supreme Court (SC) to claim 4 votes in Camarines Sur, her home province.  

The SC serves as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which hears the protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr against Robredo, and her counter-protest, over the vice presidential elections of 2016. (TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)

On Wednesday, April 4, Robredo’s legal counsels, Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, filed a manifestation with the PET after a revision committee did not allow them to claim 4 ballots from the municipality of Baao, Camarines Sur, simply because the Revision Report provided by the PET did not have a space for it.  

In a statement, Macalintal said it meant Robredo “has been deprived of her right to register her claims.” The Vice President was also prohibited from making any manifestation in the Revision Report, he said.  

The Robredo camp was concerned when a revision committees denied her claim to 4 ballots in her favor that were found inside the envelope for unused ballots. “These four ballots will now be treated as uncontested ballots to the prejudice of Robredo,” the lawyers said. 

Macalintal said this policy of having to elevate to the PET every concern defeats the purpose of having a board of revisors in the first place. It is also highly likely the recount in the concerned clustered precinct shall have been completed before the tribunal is able to deliberate and resolve such matters.  

“[If] the parties are required to keep going to the Honorable Tribunal to seek rulings on objections and claims, [this] renders nugatory...the constitution of the revision committees,” Macalintal said. 

“If incidents such as this would need to be submitted to the PET for proper ruling, then the revision, recount, and re-appreciation of the ballots should be conducted before all the members present to expedite the proceedings,” he added added. –