By Rey Panaligan
After the manual recount and revision of ballots in 210 precincts in Camarines Sur the past two weeks, Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo has reportedly lost about 5,000 votes as a result of the ruling of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal that only ballots which were shaded 50 per cent should be counted as valid votes.
This was revealed by some revisors who requested anonymity because of the confidentiality of their work with the PET, composed of all justices of the Supreme Court.
The manual recount and revision of ballots in Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental entered its third week yesterday at the gymnasium of the SC-Court of Appeals in Ermita, Manila.
There are 1,400 ballot boxes in 5,418 clustered precincts in the three provinces identified by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. in his election protest against Robredo.
Results of the manual recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces would determine if the PET would proceed with the Marcos’ protest that covers 132,446 precincts in 27 provinces and cities.
Based on election results, Robredo was declared winner in the 2016 vice presidential election with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than the 14,155,344 votes garnered by Marcos.
Robredo also filed a counter-protest against Marcos. The two cases had been consolidated by the PET.
The revisors said the PET ruling on the 50 percent threshold would take its toll against Robredo as the manual recount and revision progress. “It’s still a long way to go but with the figures coming out, we can see a pattern that could lead to substantial recovery or change in the results of the elections, which could favor the protestant (Marcos),” they said.
In a resolution issued April 12 in Baguio City, the PET denied Robredo’s motion to use the 25 percent, instead of 50 percent, threshold on the shading of the oval on the ballot in determining the validity of the vote reflected in the ballot.
The PET ruled that “the Tribunal has no basis to impose a 25 per cent threshold in determining whether a vote is valid,” adding that Robredo’s “claim of a systematic reduction of her votes is without basis and shows a misunderstanding of the revision process.”