By Kristine Joy Patag | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal is set to start the ballot recount on former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo on April 2.
On Tuesday, the tribunal gave a tour to the members of the media on the scheduled ballot recount on the three pilot provinces cited by Marcos in his election protest.
The Supreme Court-Court of Appeals gym was converted to a venue for recount. Lawyer Ma. Carina Cunanan, member of the PET AdHoc committee, said that the renovation started on August 8, and was completed a month ago.
The fourth floor of the building, meanwhile, was converted into a storage area.
Lawyer Jose Lemuel Arenas, member of the tribunal’s AdHoc committee, said that the PET is currently housing some 1,400 ballot boxes from Camarines Sur, one of Marcos’ chosen pilot provinces for the recount.
Arenas said that other ballot boxes are currently with the Commission on Elections due to storage issues.
Once the recount on the first 1,400 ballot boxes is done, the PET will receive the other ballot boxes from Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
Cunanan said that the tribunal is expecting some 213 personnel to come in per day during the recount. These include 60 employees of the tribunal, psychometricians, lawyers and representatives of both parties, and the revisors.
The revisors are part of the tribunal’s committee tasked to examine the contested ballots.
Members of the Philippine National Police, Philippine Coast Guard, Police Security Protection Group and PET guards will secure the venue round-the-clock.
CCTVs were also installed surrounding the recount venue and the storage area.
Cunanan said that the tribunal is expecting to augment 101 security personnel this coming week with more members of the PNP.
She added that the parties will not be allowed to bring in their security.
On April 2, 40 sets of revisors will start the recount process. For each table, there will be three revisors: One head revisor from the PET, one revisor each from the parties.
The revisors will not be allowed to bring in their personal belongings, including their mobile phones, inside the venue. The PET has provided a locker for their belongings.
The recount will start at 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., with two 15-minute breaks and a one-hour lunch break. It will run from Monday to Friday.
The PET said that they still cannot determine when the recount will be finished.
Earlier, the PET moved the recount from March 19 to April 2 due to staffing problems.
Marcos, the son of the ousted Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos, has accused Robredo of cheating her way to the second highest office in the land. He lost to the former Camarines Sur representative and human rights lawyer by a slim margin of about 260,000 votes in the 2016 national elections.
If Marcos wins in his electoral protest, this will mean a massive step in the efforts made by his family to rehabilitate and regain the presidential palace 32 years after their patriarch was ousted from power.