Manila Standard - PET starts recount of VP votes

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

The Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has started the revision of votes from Iloilo province, the second of three pilot provinces identified in the election protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.

PET insiders revealed that revisors commenced on Thursday the manual count of votes from ballots retrieved in Iloilo.

A total 2,264 ballot boxes from Iloilo will be revised by the tribunal. The revisors started the recount of votes from Ajuy town.

The revision process started even if it has not yet finished the recount on votes from Camarines Sur, where 43 clustered precincts from San Jose town were left to be revised.

The source said there were also 403 ballot boxes from Camarines Sur that have yet to be collected by the PET from the House of Representatives where these were also the subject of another election protest.

The camp of Marcos recently expressed alarm over reported anomalies found on ballots from Iloilo.

Vic Rodriguez, lawyer, and spokesman of Marcos, particularly cited reports of ballots placed inside plastic containers commonly used as household storage devices or picnic containers.

Aside from the ballots found inside household plastic containers, the retrieval team has also found wet ballots, ballot boxes with broken seals, boxes with damaged covers and metal boxes with no padlocks.

Several anomalies like wet ballots were earlier found in Camarines Sur, but it is the first time the PET has discovered ballots placed outside ballot boxes.

The PET retrieval managed to retrieve 2,264 ballot boxes from 2,740 clustered precincts in Iloilo.

The pilot provinces—Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental—cover 5,418 clustered precincts. After the recount of these three provinces, the PET will decide whether to not to proceed with the recount on a total 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities identified in the protest of Marcos.

Marcos filed the protest on June 29, 2016, claiming the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in the May 2016 national polls.

Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.