Marcos to PET: Statements on poll recount  ‘observation’

Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos photo

Former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. told the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) that his press statements on the ongoing recount of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race were mere “observations.”

Marcos claimed that he “did not make any comment or disclosure pertaining to the revision proceedings that may be construed as prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice.”

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as PET, issued a show cause order against Marcos and Vice President Leni Robredo for publicly discussing information involving the election protest in the 2016 vice presidential race.

PET has ordered Marcos and Robredo to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for disclosing information on the vote recount.

But Marcos, in his compliance reply, insisted that his camp’s statements were “limited to his personal observation of what transpired during the revision.”

“To be sure, the legal counsels of the protestant repeatedly requested that the Adhoc Revision Committee of this Honorable Tribunal to issue media advisories in connection with the ongoing proceedings so that they will not be forced to grant any interview in order to clarify the developments in this election protest,” he added.

The revision of ballots begun on last week, on April 2. On the first day of recount, Marcos’ camp revealed before the media that wet ballots were discovered from the clustered ballots of Municipality of Bato, Camarines Sur.

Marcos’ spokesman, Vic Rodriguez, further claimed that there were missing audits and ballots pre-shaded for Robredo.

The revision of ballots is being conducted in connection with Marcos’ electoral protest against Robredo, who won the 2016 vice presidential race with only 263,473 more than him. Marcos accused her of committing massive electoral fraud.

Shading threshold

On Tuesday, April 24, PET has directed Marcos and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to comment on Robredo’s appeal on the shading threshold in the vote recount.

In a motion filed last week, Robredo asked PET to follow the 25 percent  threshold set by the Comelec for shading of ballots, citing the “interest of justice and fair play.”

Threshold pertains to what percentage of the vote should be shaded to be counted. PET is currently applying the 50 percent threshold in determining the validity of votes.

Robredo also claimed that PET’s decision to apply a 50 percent threshold on validity of votes “has resulted to a systematic decrease in her votes.”

Reacting to the motion, Marcos’ camp earlier slammed the vice president for “casting aspersions meant to debase [PET’s] integrity” and “attempting to cheat the Filipino people again by trying to change the rules in the middle of the game.”

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