The Manila Times - SC forms ballot revision teams

24 August 2017

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times 

The Supreme Court has created retrieval and exploratory teams for the revision of ballots in the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

In a five-page resolution dated August 8, 2017, the court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), set the rules and guidelines for the process including the composition, screening and hiring of members of the revision committees, the creation of an exploratory mission or retrieval team as well as the compensation of those who will take part in the actual revision of ballots.

The tribunal designated the following SC employees as members of the team: Mercedes Mostajo and Linuel Alindogan of the Office of the Chief Attorney as leaders; Joy Jemima Reyes and Jeffrey Raymond Atienza of the Cash Collection and Disbursement Division as Special Disbursing Officers and Joery Gayanan and/or any official/employee to be recommended by the Office of the Administrative Services as Chief Security Officer and/or Assistant Chief Security Officer. They will each receive a compensation of P5,000 monthly.

The high tribunal, during the preliminary conference in July, approved the use of the SC gymnasium in the revision proceedings. It also added two more areas to be used in the election protest — a portion of the fourth floor parking level of the SC-Court of Appeals Multi-Purpose Building as well as a room at the back of the Division Hearing Room.

The PET amended Rules 39(b) of the 2010 PET Rules by requiring that each revision committee be composed of a coordinator who shall be a lawyer, a recorder and a representative, each from the protestant and protestee. It also required the parties to designate their respective alternative representatives.

The tribunal allowed a compensation of P1,500 for each revision committee. The coordinator will receive a pay of P780 while the recorder will be entitled to P480. The remaining P184 will be for their supplies or materials.
The court said coordinators must come from outside the High Court.

With this, the high tribunal mandated the Office of the Acting Chief Administrative Officer to post the vacancies for the members of the revision committees and accept applications for the staffing complement. The acting clerk of the tribunal will screen the applicants.

In addition, the PET set the compensation for members of the panel of commissioners namely Justice Jose Vitug as chairperson who will receive P50,000 a month starting July 2017; and his members Angelito Imperio and Irene Ragodon-Guevarra who will each receive P45,000 monthly.

The Robredo camp on Wednesday filed a petition asking the PET to set aside its ruling junking their plea to accept the contributions of her supporters for the payment of her counter-protest fee amounting to P7.4 million.

In a 13-page motion for reconsideration, the Piso Para Kay Leni led by Museo Pambata chairperson Cristina Lim-Yuson asked the PET to allow them to pay the rest of Robredo’s counter-protest fee.

Also pleading for the Robredo camp are former Social Welfare secretary Corazon Soliman, former human rights commissioner Paulynn Sicam, former Bases Conversion and Development Authority board director Zorayda Amelia Alonzo, award-winning singer Celeste Legaspi-Gallardo and Ateneo de Manila University Press director Karina Bolasco.

In his protest, Marcos assailed the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts which is composed of 132,446 precincts.

The high tribunal recently ordered the preservation of the automated election equipment and records such as Vote Counting Machines (VCMs), Consolidation and Canvass System units, Secure Digital (SD) cards and the other data storage devices in all of the 92,509 clustered precincts used in the May 2016 elections.

Marcos lost to Robredo by only 263,473 votes.