Law students urge SolGen to back Comelec stand on ballot-shading threshold
Law students from the Ateneo de Manila University on Friday urged Solicitor General Jose Calida to stand firm on the 25-percent shading threshold imposed by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) during the May 2016 automated elections.
The law students brought their letter-request to the Office of the Solicitor General in Makati City after the Supreme Court, convened as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ordered the Comelec to comment on Vice President Leni Robredo’s appeal asking the PET to void its decision to enforce a 50-percent minimum ballot-shading requirement.
The PET implemented the new policy for the revision of ballots in the electoral protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. against Robredo, who had earlier warned that the 50-percent shading threshold would only disenfranchise voters.
Robert Escalante, president of the Ateneo Law School Student Council, said it was Calida’s constitutional duty as the state’s top lawyer to defend government agencies despite the fact that the solicitor general had openly supported Marcos’ candidacy.
“Regardless of whether or not he campaigned for a certain candidate, it’s still his constitutional mandate to represent the government,” Escalante said.
Xamantha Xophia Santos, president of the Council of Interns of the Ateneo Human Rights Center, said the Comelec had already ruled that the 25-percent threshold should be the standard in the shading of ballots.
The law students told Calida that even supporters of Marcos would be disenfranchised should the PET impose the new rule.
They pointed out that the 25-percent shading threshold was the same standard set by the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal in settling electoral protests.
“To ensure that the people’s voices are heard through their votes, it is necessary that we use the same threshold for all positions in the 2016 elections,” the group said.
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