Robredo asks PET to follow Comelec threshold for shading of ballots
Citing the “interest of justice and fair play,” Vice President Leni Robredo on Thursday asked the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to follow the threshold set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for shading of ballots.
In the urgent motion for reconsideration, Vice President said allowing a 50 percent threshold would disenfranchise voters because votes that fell below 50 percent threshold have already been counted as valid by the vote counting machines and confirmed by the Random Manual Audit Committee.
The threshold adopted by the Comelec is designed to scan every oval on the ballot and count as vote those that contain appropriate marks based on pre-determined sharing threshold. Although the voters are told through the voter information to fully shade the ballots, the shading threshold was set at 25 percent of the oval space. Comelec said the purpose is to ensure that votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading.
Robredo’s motion also noted that the Comelec, on September 2016, informed the PET through a letter about its use of the 25% threshold in declaring votes as valid.
But with the high court’s ruling declaring that the threshold be at 50 percent, “the physical count is now running inconsistent with the results based on the Election Returns, Statement of Votes by Precinct, Ballot Images and the Voter’s Verifiable Audit Paper Trial (VVPAT).”
“This misleads the Honorable Tribunal into believing that the VCM failed to accurately read and count the ballots,” the motion added.
Robredo added that not only her votes will be affected by the 50 percent threshold, but the votes of her contender, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.
“Hence, both parties will benefit in the application of the 25 percent threshold percentage during the revision, recount and re-appreciation of the ballots,” she added.
The PET, in its ruling last April 10 denying the 25% threshold cited Comelec Resolution 8804, as amended by Comelec Resolution 9164, which, it said does not mention the threshold raised by Robredo’s camp.
It added that this is consistent with court rules, adding that while the 2010 PET rules state the 50 percent threshold, the 2018 Revisor’s Guide “did not impose a new threshold.” /je
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