GMA News Online - 132 Bicol law students ask PET to apply 25% threshold in Bongbong-Leni recount

By Nicole-Anne C. Lagrimas | GMA News Online

Over a hundred law students from universities in the Bicol region on Wednesday appealed to the Supreme Court (SC) to apply the 25-percent shading threshold in the ongoing manual recount of vice presidential votes in the 2016 polls.

In a letter to the justices of the SC, which is sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), 132 law students said implementing the 50-percent threshold in determining the validity of votes would disenfranchise voters.

Their sentiment echoed that of Vice President Leni Robredo, whose victory in the 2016 vice presidential race is being contested by her closest rival, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, in her appeal for PET's earlier denial of her motion for the application of the 25-percent threshold in the manual recount of votes.

Marcos has sought the junking of Robredo's motion, saying her legal basis for seeking the use of the 25-percent threshold was "misleading."

On the other hand, some 10,000 Bicol voters, other supporters, and Ateneo law students have backed Robredo's claim before the PET, the Commission on Elections (Comelec), and the Office of the Solicitor General.

Citing an argument posited by Robredo in her filing, the law students said the Comelec itself set the 25-percent threshold in the 2016 polls.

"There is no logical reason, therefore, for PET to use a different threshold in the middle of vote recount. By adapting the 50% threshold, PET will lead to the disenfranchisement of votes for both parties," their letter to the PET said.

"Meaning, the choice of Filipinos will not be fully counted, and the result of the recount will not reflect the true choice of the people," it added.

The letter was signed by law students from the Ateneo de Naga, the University of Santo Tomas - Legazpi, the University of Nueva Caceres, and Bicol College.

The current manual vote recount in Marcos' challenge to Robredo's victory in the 2016 elections covers three pilot provinces: Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.

The revision process, as it is officially called, started on April 2. —KBK, GMA News