THE camp of Vice President Robredo criticized the lawyer of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. for trying to unduly influence the results of the ongoing poll recount of the 2016 vice presidential race stemming from her client’s protest.
In a manifestation, Robredo’s counsels Romulo Macalintal and Bernadette Sardillo claimed that lawyer Joan Padilla went around the poll recount area to tell Head Revisors or the heads of the panels manually counting the votes to disregard the 2016 election results as stated in the returns that indicate vote count in each of the polling precincts.
Padilla made the move on April 13 or a day after the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), denied Robredo’s motion for the PET to set the threshold for shaded ovals at 25 percent as valid votes in accordance with the threshold set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Vote Counting Machines used in the 2016 polls. Instead, the PET decided to use the 50 percent threshold, which was applied in the 2010 polls.
“Without any authority from the Honorable Tribunal, Atty. Padilla was heard as informing the Head Revisors that she no longer wants the Revision Committees to check the votes of the parties vis-a-vis the Election Returns. To further compound matters Atty. Padilla asked the Revision Supervisors of the Honorable Tribunal to post, in every corner or table in the revision area, a copy of the PET Resolution dated April 10, 2018 which denied the urgent motion of protestee Robredo. Padilla stopped only after the attention of the PET Head Revisors was called. Unfortunately, such conduct not only disrupted the proceedings but can be construed as unduly influencing the PET Head Revisors,” Robredo’s counsels said in their manifestation.
“The counsels were verbally informed by the representatives of the Honorable Tribunal that the revision (recount) proceedings [were]akin to court proceedings. Atty. Padilla’s conduct on April 13 [in the revision area]was unbecoming of an officer of the court. Her action is a clear sign of the desire of Marcos to win at all costs, fair or foul, by disenfranchising innocent legitimate voters who are not aware of technicalities and in utter disregard of existing jurisprudence and rules in revision that the will of the voter will be given effect setting aside any technicalities,” the manifestation added.
The Robredo counsels were referring to Rule 2 of the 2018 PET Revisors Guide for the revision (recount) of ballots under the automated election system, which did not state any threshold but only provided that “the head revisor should bear in mind that the will of the voters reflected as votes in ballots should, as much as possible, be given effect, setting aside any technicalities.”
Robredo beat Marcos by 263,473 votes in the 2016 polls. In an exclusive story by the Manila Times on Tuesday, April 17, PET sources claimed that Robredo’s lead on Marcos has been trimmed by 5,000 votes.
Members of the media are not allowed in the poll recount area. LLANESCA T. PANTI