The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has authorized the hiring of an initial 60 contractual workers for the recount of votes in connection with the poll protest of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
With monthly salaries ranging from P14,586 to P30,000, the contractual employees include a finance consultant, secretaries, ballot box handlers and custodians, copy machine operators, utility workers/messengers, locks custodians, drivers, tabulators, and data encoders.
The tribunal also approved the amendment of the 2010 PET Rules to allow a non-lawyer to be qualified for the position of coordinator of the revision committees, and authorized the filling up of the position of recorder.
The PET made the actions on October 18 upon the recommendation of the tribunal’s acting administrative officer Atty. Eden Candelaria.
Marcos is asking for a manual recount of votes from 36,445 clustered precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Cebu Province, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Masbate, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Bukidnon, Iloilo Province, Bohol, Quezon, and Batangas.
Completing the list are Western Samar, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, second district of Northern Samar, Palawan, Albay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Pangasinan, Isabela, Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Zamboanga City.
The former senator also called for the nullification of results from 2,756 clustered precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan on the ground of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters, substituted voting, pre-shading of ballots, and other forms of electoral fraud.
Robredo’s counter protest, on the other hand, covers 7,547 clustered precincts in the provinces of Apayao, Mountain Province, Abra, Kalinga, Bataan, Capiz, Aklan, Antique, Sarangani, Sulu, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, and North Cotabato.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) had already started the decryption and printing of ballot images from three pilot provinces for the recount being sought by Marcos.
The decryption and printing of ballots cover precincts in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental and will take at least seven months to finish.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 election which the former senator claimed was marred by fraud. —KG, GMA News