Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo invoking on Thursday the 25 percent threshold for valid votes is “erroneous,” according to the spokesman for former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Marcos is contesting results of the May 2016 elections for Vice President, which then-congresswoman Robredo won over the former senator by more than 200,000 votes.
The spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, also on Thursday explained that an election case was filed by Marcos against Robredo in June 2016 and “since then jurisdiction of the case has been with the Supreme Court [sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal] and no other as provided by Article 8 of the Constitution.”
“Since it is the Rules of the [electoral tribunal] that shall apply, her invocation of the 25 percent threshold rule is erroneous as it was made by the Comelec only on September 6, 2016, four months after the elections,” Rodriguez said in a statement, referring to the Commission on Elections.
The move, he added, “is an obvious ploy on the part of the Comelec, then led by Chairman Andres Bautista, to favor Robredo once revision process starts” for votes from the May 2016 polls, which Marcos said was marred with fraud perpetrated by the Robredo camp.
Rodriguez said the Vice President “should stop accusing the [Presidential Electoral Tribunal] of systematically reducing her votes and casting aspersions meant to debase [the tribunal’s] integrity.
Robredo has personally asked the Supreme Court to immediately set the threshold of shaded ovals as valid votes at 25 percent, a limit that was set by the Comelec on Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) used in last year’s balloting.
She made an urgent motion for reconsideration in response to a Supreme Court (SC) ruling junking her earlier motion to set the threshold for valid votes at 25 percent and instead keeping the 50 percent threshold used in the 2010 elections.
In denying Robredo’s earlier motion, the SC said it was not aware of any Comelec resolution that the threshold should be 25 percent.
The motion stemmed from an ongoing manual recount of the May 2016 votes from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental and Iloilo as sought by Marcos.
Robredo argued that the SC was informed by the Comelec about such threshold because the poll body sent a September 2016 letter containing a Comelec resolution to then-Supreme Court Clerk of Court Felipa Anama.
The resolution informed the SC that the 25 percent threshold will be used in the manual recount, specifically on shadings read by the VCMs.
The Comelec’s letter was a response to a request made by the SC in August 2016 asking for guidelines of the poll body for such recount.
“The Comelec’s September 2016 resolution on the use of 25 percent threshold gives the honorable tribunal the legal basis to impose a 25 percent threshold to determine whether the vote is valid. The [tribunal] was aware of the 25 percent threshold used by the Comelec during the 2016 elections,” Robredo’s appeal read.
Among the Vice President’s supporters were former priest and Pampanga Gov. Ed Panlilio, a founder of Kaya Natin movement for good governance; running priest/activist Fr. Robert Reyes; former Chairman Etta Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights; Sister Mary John Mananzan; and Cristina Lim-Yuson, president and CEO of Museo Pambata.
Robredo’s motion said using 50 percent as threshold for valid votes allows the head revisors or the people doing the manual recount to reject valid votes of the Vice President.
Robredo vowed that she would fight Marcos’ protest.
“Please join me in praying for the truth to come out. Let us pray that your voice, thru your votes, will be counted. Rest assured we will soldier on in this fight,” she said.