Robredo lawyer denies vice president losing ballots due to shade threshold
MANILA, Philippines — The lead election lawyer of Leni Robredo on Tuesday denied reports that the vice president may lose a significant number of votes after the recount process in the electoral case filed against her by former Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
This, despite the Supreme Court already ordering both parties in the electoral protest to explain why they should not be cited in contempt for talking about matters pending before the court, which also sits as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Robredo’s lawyers also slammed a lawyer of losing vice presidential candidate Marcos at the ongoing manual recount who allegedly attempted to not only disrupt but also “unduly influence” the process.
In a radio interview, Romulo Macalintal, Robredo’s lead counsel, denied that she had so far lost about 5,000 votes after two weeks of recount of ballots from Camarines Sur, her home province.
“There’s no truth in that. It’s not true. First, there is no PET ruling yet on that matter. Second, the one-fourth shading is just the observation of revisors,” Macalintal said in Filipino during the interview, referring to heads of the revision panels. Revision is another term for the recount.
Macalintal, a veteran election lawyer, said that although it was possible for voters to fail to fully shade the ovals in the ballots, the number of those would be fewer than 100.
He also said that what has been reported in the media early Tuesday morning was just observations coming from the panel heads of the recount process, which are not binding on the Supreme Court.
Macalintal said that the Commission on Elections had already issued a resolution allowing the counting of ballots with ovals that were only 25-percent shaded.
“The PET cannot set the threshold as it was the COMELEC that conducted the elections,” Macalintal said, adding that the Supreme Court has issued a ruling in the past that counted ballots even when they were marked with checks or crosses as the tribunal put more weight on the intention of the voter.
It was reported that so-called “revisors” were projecting a reduction in Robredo’s votes due to the 50-percent threshold set by the PET.
Second Manifestation of Grave Concern
Meanwhile, Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, another Robredo lawyer, filed a Second Manifestation of Grave Concern on Tuesday raising apprehensions over the actions of Joan Padilla, a Marcos lawyer, at the revision area on April 13, the day the tribunal issued a ruling maintaining that the recount would observe a 50-percent threshold.
Macalintal said instead of simply observing the proceedings Padilla went around the revision area and aggressively told the heads of the revising committees to implement the 50-percent threshold and to post a copy of the resolution “in every corner or table in the revision area.”
Padilla was heard to be telling the recount panel heads that “she no longer wants the revision committees to check the votes of the parties vis-à-vis the Election Returns.”
Robredo defeated the son of the late Philippine dictator by more than 260,000 votes during the 2016 elections.
Marcos has refused to accept the result and hase alleged that vote-counting machines were tampered with to favor Robredo, the then-ruling party’s vice presidential candidate.