Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was elated by the decision of the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to allow the counting of votes for vice president in three pilot provinces — Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
The Marcos camp said there were more than a million undervotes in these areas. It believes that if the votes are counted correctly, these will be more than enough to overtake the more than 260,000 lead of Vice President Leni Robredo.
There is an undervote when the choices selected by voters are less than the minimum number allowed.
The high court will announce the vote revision date soon.
“It is clear that the justices are interested to proceed with the revision and counting of votes. They want a speedy resolution to finally know the real results of the election,” Marcos said in a news conference Tuesday.
“The SC has made an anticipatory move for revision. They even showed the gym where the revisions will be held. The tribunal is ready for the main event where we will argue on issues,” he added.
Marcos lawyer George Garcia said the tribunal has discussed the plan on how to proceed with the vote count.
“We are given five days to submit in writing our position on issues raised. Then the SC will rule on the issues maybe until next week. By mid-August we expect the collection of ballots from the three provinces and revision will start in September,” Garcia said.
He added that the Marcos camp will also probe the presence of several “queue servers” which were not known to the public and even the Commission on Elections.
Garcia claimed that half a million votes in the vice presidential race are missing.
“Where did they go?” he asked.
Marcos on Tuesday paid the P30 million remaining cash bond needed for his poll protest to proceed.
In April, he paid an initial P36 million that will cover the cost of a vote recount. The former senator said he had to sell one of his properties to raise the final cash bond.
On Tuesday, the high court said the ballot boxes will be stored at the gymnasium of the SC and Court of Appeals in Manila. It will also be the venue for the recount.
Associate Justice Benjamin Caguioa, the ponente of the case, Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo -De Castro, Lucas Bersamin, Marvic Leonen and Samuel Martires attended the preliminary conference held at the high court yesterday.
The hearing commissioners led by retired SC Justice Jose Vitug were also present.
Marcos has filed a motion to decrypt and print the ballot image from the Secure Digital (SD) cards and/or data storage devices from each of the 36,465 protested clustered precincts in the contested areas ahead of the scheduled preliminary conference.
The contested areas include the provinces of Cebu, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Masbate, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Del Norte, Bukidnon, Iloilo Province, Bohol, Quezon, Batangas, Western Samar, Misamis Oriental, Camarines Sur, Palawan, Albay, Zamboanga Sibugay, Misamis Occidental, Pangasinan and Isabela; Iloilo City, Bacolod City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City and Zamboanga City and the 2nd District of Northern Samar.
and Jomar Canlas