Manila Bulletin - PET revisors stumble on votes cast for Duterte but not counted for him

By Rey Panaligan | Manila Bulletin

Revisors of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) said Tuesday there were votes cast for President Duterte that were not counted in his favor in the 2016 presidential election in Camarines Sur.

On condition of anonymity, the revisors said they discovered “many of these incidents” but they did not pay so much attention because their concern is the result of their manual recount and revision of ballots in the vice presidential protest.

They said they randomly checked the votes cast for the presidency “to check if there were also discrepancies in the presidential election after discovering discrepancies in the results for the vice presidential election.”

President Duterte won the 2016 election with more than 6.6 million votes than those garnered by his closest rival, Mar Roxas.

The manual recount and revision of votes in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental entered its seventh week today on the protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

The results in the recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces would determine if the PET, composed of all Supreme Court justices, would still pursue the protest in 24 more provinces and cities covered by Marcos’ case.

Robredo was declared winner and was proclaimed vice president with more than 14.41 million votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14.15 million votes.

Marcos filed a protest while Robredo filed a counter-protest and the two cases were consolidated by the PET.

Speaking for the Marcos camp, lawyer Vic Rodriguez said the reduction of votes for President Duterte was not a surprise.

“We are not surprised by such report because it just confirms what we have been saying all along – that the cheating was widespread that it also affected President Duterte but his lead was insurmountable that all attempts failed,” Rodriguez said.

The manual recount and revision of ballots in the three provinces started last April 2 and the work is being done behind closed doors at the Supreme Court-Court of Appeals gymnasium in Ermita, Manila.

The far, the recount and revision of ballots have been finished in 22 towns in Camarines Sur– Baao, Balatan, Bato, Buhi, Bula, Camaligan, Canaman, Ocampo, Gainza, Garchitorena, Lagonoy, Magarao, Pili, Presentacion, Sangay, San Fernando, Milaor, Minalabac, Lupi, Pamplona, Pasacao and Del Gallego.

Ballots in 15 more towns than are now being manually recounted and revised.