The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), will begin in February next year the recount of votes in connection with the election protest filed by former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The ballot recount covers the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental which were chosen by Marcos as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities alleged in his protest.
On Tuesday, Robredo’s counsel, Romulo Macalintal, said first to be reviewed are the ballots from the contested clustered precincts in Camarines Sur, the vice president’s home province, which will be retrieved on January 22, 2018 with the recount slated for second week of February.
This will be followed by the two other pilot provinces.
Macalintal said under the PET Rules, if Marcos could not prove any substantial recovery of votes from these three pilot provinces, the former senator’s protest will be dismissed for lack of merit.
For Camarines Sur alone, Macalintal said P9.6 million would be charged to Marcos’ cash deposit for the retrieval of ballots, salaries and allowances of employees, security, transportation, and other expenses.
Macalintal and Marcos’ lawyer, George Garcia, were at the SC on Monday for a meeting on the regulations governing the recount of votes and a tour of the venue for the recount process.
Macalintal expressed confidence the recount will “confirm and affirm the victory of Robredo as the duly elected vice president” in the May 2016 elections.
“This is so because in all the more than 500 automated election protest cases filed since 2010 to the present not a single election protest involving local elective positions had been successful where the issue was merely recount of the ballots,” he said.
“All of them were dismissed because the results of the physical count of the ballots tallied exactly with the results of the count made by the vote counting machines (VCMs) and the consolidated canvassing system (CCS),” Macalintal said.
If the results in the recount of ballots for local elective officials were accurate, Macalintal said there was no reason why the recount for a national position would be different considering that the ballots used for the local and national elective positions were the same and they were counted and tallied by the same VCMs and CCS.
GMA News Online tried to get the reaction from the Marcos camp but has yet to receive a reply as of posting time.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in last year’s election which the former senator claimed was marred by fraud. — RSJ, GMA News