The Manila Times - SC: Real winner of VP contest known soon

24 January 2019

By Jomar Canlas | The Manila Times

The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is getting closer to knowing the victor in an election protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo.

Its final decision loomed after the electoral tribunal announced that the revision of ballots for pilot provinces in PET Case 005 was almost over.

The court said the revision of ballots was suspended to train revisors, but the recount would resume immediately.

Edgar Aricheta, clerk of court of the tribunal, said the suspension of the recount would pave way for a second appraisal of ballot boxes.

“This is to confirm the announcement made by the [electoral tribunal’s] Ad Hoc Committee regarding the suspension of revision proceedings… This is to give way [to] the tribunal to prepare for the revision using the decrypted ballots and/or election paraphernalia,” he said in a letter.

In his protest, Marcos assailed election results in 39,221 clustered precincts.

Based on Commission on Elections data, the 39,221 clustered precincts are composed of 132,446 precincts.

Marcos, who lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes, accused her of massive electoral fraud such as pre-shading of ballots, pre-loading of Secure Digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines (VCMs) and an “abnormally high” unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of Vice President.

The revision involved 5,417 clustered precincts from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental and began in April last year.

The camp of Robredo on Wednesday maintained that the Vice President’s lead remained intact.