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Rappler - SC wants Comelec, Bongbong Marcos to comment on shading threshold in VP race

News & Interviews
24 April 2018

By Lian Buan | Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Supreme Court (SC) sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) on Tuesday, April 24, directed the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr to comment on the issue of threshold percentage that ought to be followed in counting shaded ovals as votes.

This is in relation to the ongoing pilot recount in the electoral protest that Marcos filed against Vice President Leni Robredo.

"The Presidential Electoral Tribunal, directed the protestant and the Commission on Elections to COMMENT on the protestee’s Motion for Reconsideration dated April 19, 2018 on the requirement to observe a 50% threshold percentage on the recount within ten (10) days from notice," SC Spokesman Theodore Te said in a news conference on Tuesday.

Context. The PET had earlier denied Robredo's motion to recognize a 25% shading threshold when they manually recount votes from the pilot provinces.

The PET said it was not aware of any Comelec resolution setting the threshold at 25%. It effectively applied the 50% threshold followed in the 2010 elections.

Robredo filed an urgent motion for reconsideration, submitting to the PET a memorandum from Commissioner Luie Guia. In that memorandum, Guia told the PET they followed a 25% shading threshold.

Why is it important? It would have a crucial effect on the recount.

While it is on appeal, Robredo had already expressed fear that applying a 50% shading threshold would "systematically decrease" her votes.

The PET is currently recounting votes from Camarines Sur, one of the 3 pilot provinces identified by Marcos. The other two provinces are Iloilo and Negros Oriental.

The PET also directed Marcos to comment.

Comelec issue. Robredo's critics question why Guia's memorandum was only dated September 2016, when the elections happened 4 months before or in May 2016.

Marcos filed the electoral protest in June 2016. The PET made a query on August 12, 2016, on what guideline it implemented for counting votes.

That's when Guia wrote the PET to say that the Comelec set the threshold at 25%. It was then backed by the entire Comelec en banc in the minute resolution, also dated September 2016.

"It is an obvious ploy on the part of the Comelec, then led by the impeached chairman Andres Bautista, to favor Robredo once [the] revision process starts," Marcos' lawyer Vic Rodriguez said. –