AT least six law student organizations of the Ateneo De Manila University are urging Solicitor General Jose Calida to support the 25 percent threshold of a shaded oval as a valid vote in the ongoing manual recount of ballots in the 2016 vice presidential race.
The law student organizations made the call pending on the Supreme Court’s decision on Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo’s appeal asking the High Court to order the revisors or those conducting manual recount of votes of both camps to use the 25 percent threshold in determining the validity of the vote based on a Comelec Resolution on the manual counting of votes issued in September 2016.
The ongoing recount stemmed from the poll protest lodged by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. against Robredo who defeated Marcos by 263,473 votes. The recount covers Camarines Sur, Negros Occidental and Iloilo which, Marcos said, exemplified poll fraud based on Supreme Court rules.
“As students of the law, we are imploring your good office as counsel to the Commission on Elections to prevent the disenfranchisement votes and to present the rule as it should be applied. The sanctity of the vote is paramount, and the electorate’s will must not be silenced,” the law students said in their letter to Calida, which was received by his office on Friday morning.
The Ateneo law student organizations also argued that the 25 percent threshold was also the standard being used to resolve protests filed before the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
“To ensure that the people’s voices are heard through their votes, it is necessary that we use the same threshold for all positions in the 2016 elections. It is clear that a 25 percent standard was used in the 2016 elections, and to change this standard for the recount would result into disenfranchisement of voters,” they added.
“Democracy demands vigilance and vigilance demands that we come to our office to make known our stand. With this, we are hoping that you can voice our concerns and support our cause with the PET through your comment to the Motion for Reconsideration,” they said. LLANESCA T. PANTI