PET sets guidelines in preparation for ballot revision of BBM protest

23 August 2017

Creates exploratory team to facilitate the retrieval of all ballot boxes for revision

The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has finally issued rules and guidelines in preparation for the revision of ballots in the election protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.

In a 5-page Resolution dated 8 August 2017, the PET prescribed the rules 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 eventually take part in the actual revision of ballots.

As manifested during the preliminary conference last month, the Tribunal, in the same Resolution, approved the use of the SC Gymnasium in the revision proceedings. It also added two more areas to be used in the election protest, namely, 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.

As for the members of the Revision Committees, the Tribunal 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 also provided for P1,500 per clustered precinct compensation for each Revision Committee which will cover the members’ compensation and supplies. The Coordinator will receive a compensation of P780 while the Recorder will be entitled to P480. The remaining P184 will be for their supplies or materials.

Unlike the old rule which required that the Coordinator must come from SC personnel, the Tribunal amended the said requirement by providing that Coordinators must come from outside the High Court.

Because of such requirement, the PET ordered 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 for the position of Coordinators of the Revision Committee.

The Tribunal likewise created an Exploratory Mission/Retrieval Team that will locate and examine all ballot boxes in the contested provinces and cities in order to facilitate their retrieval and transport to the Supreme Court compound for the revision.

As members of the said team, the Tribunal has designated the following SC employees - Attys. 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 Tribunal also fixed the compensation of the 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 Attys. Angelito Imperio and Irene Ragodon-Guevarra who will each received P45,000 monthly started July 2017.

Atty. Victor Rodriguez, spokesperson of Marcos, welcomed the PET Resolution which finally set in motion the requirements needed to pave the way for the revision of votes, saying it is a step forward towards their quest for truth.

“We cannot wait for the actual process to start because it is the only way we’ll be able to ferret the truth. We have always maintained that the ballots themselves are the best evidence in any election protest. This is the reason why we have always pushed for the early revision of ballots. Unfortunately, we have suffered manydelays because the other party keeps opposing our moves to open the ballots. 1 year and 3 months have already gone by. We hope that this will expedite the process so this issue can be settles once and for all. The Filipino people deserve to know their real Vice President is,” Rodriguez said.