Solicitor General Jose Calida has asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), not to grant Vice President Leni Robredo’s appeal to set at 25 percent the threshold of the shaded ovals of ballots in the ongoing recount.
In his motion and manifestation submitted before the PET, Calida said the tribunal should “affirm its Resolution dated April 10, 2018 declaring that it has ‘no basis to impose a 25% threshold in determining whether a vote is valid’.”
“On the issue of the threshold that will be used to determine the validity of the votes, it is the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) which should determine the threshold, pursuant to its rule-making power under the Constitution,” Calida pointed out.
“The Constitution states that the PET has the sole authority to judge all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President and may promulgate its rules for the purpose,” he cited.
The PET had set the threshold at 50 percent. The ongoing recount was conducted based on the electoral protest filed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who believes he got cheated in the 2016 vice presidential polls.
Robredo has been insisting before the PET that the threshold be set at 25 percent since the Commission on Election (COMELEC) itself set it in its Random Manual Audit Guidelines and Report.
However, the Solicitor General explained that “in election contest relating to the Vice-Presidential position, such as the present case, the COMELEC has no jurisdiction to impose its own rules.”
“The 50% threshold imposed by the Honorable Tribunal in the exercise of its rule-making power is reasonable, considering that the recount of ballots in election protests is done manually,” Calida said.
“The claim of the protestee that the application of the 50 % percent threshold will disenfranchise the voters, inasmuch as valid votes will not be counted during the physical count even if these votes were validly counted by the vote counting machines, is bereft of merit,” he also said.