(L-R) Former Sen. Bongbong Marcos; Vice President Leni Robredo
MANILA, Philippines — The pilot recount for the election protest of losing vice president bet and former Senator Bongbong Marcos started on Monday.
The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), constituted 40 revision committees.
The manual recount will cover the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental with a total of 5,418 clustered precincts.
“The principal objective of this exercise is to ascertain the number of votes received by both parties in the May 9, 2016, national elections through a manual recount of the votes,” said PET spokesperson Atty. Theodore Te.
According to the tribunal, the results of the recount will determine if the protest will proceed with the remaining 31,000 clustered precincts.
But even this early, Marcos is already raising issues on ballots from the municipality of Bato, Camarines Sur.
He claimed that ballots from four precincts were wet and unreadable.
“It cannot be used. It’s wet. The ballots are stuck together and already illegible,” said Marcos.
But Robredo’s lawyer said this is not a problem since there are ballot images.
“Under the law and under the rules, the remedy is you go to the ballot images. Precisely, that’s the reason why we have the ballot images, and the ballot images will show you the same results,” said Atty. Romulo Macalintal, legal counsel of Robredo.
Marcos further claims audit logs of 39 vote counting machines are missing.
The logs contain information on how the machine was operated during the elections, such as the time it was opened and shut down and the time when the ballots are fed into it.
“Clearly, somebody, opened the ballot box, took the audit log, before sealing it again,” said Marcos.
But again, Robredo’s lawyer said that this will not affect the results.
He said it normally happens during elections where teachers forget to put election paraphernalia into the ballot boxes.
“Will it affect the results of the elections? No, because these are all technical defects. Why? in various decisions, our Supreme Court has ruled that such mistakes of teachers will not affect the results of the count,” said Macalintal.
Based on the rules of the tribunal, the revision committees will just put this on record and the PET en banc will resolve this after the manual recount.
The pilot recount will be from Monday to Friday, 8:30 in the morning to 4:30 in the afternoon.
Robredo’s camp said it could take a couple of months to be completed. — Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue