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MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), issued guidelines in preparation for the ballot revision in the electoral protest filed by ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo.
On Wednesday, August 23, the Marcos camp released a copy of the PET’s 5-page resolution.
The document contains the composition and hiring process for the members of the Revision Committee, the creation of an Exploratory Mission or Retrieval Team, and the compensation for individuals who will participate in the revision of the ballots.
The revision stage is the 3rd part of an electoral protest, wherein contested ballot boxes will be opened and votes will be recounted and tallied. (READ: Presidential Electoral Tribunal: What happens to a protest?)
Revision committees will be formed for the continuous revision of votes, in the presence of representatives of both parties. The revision is done through the use of vote-counting machines – or manually and visually – as the PET may determine.
Robredo had beaten her closest vice presidential rival Marcos by just 263,473 votes in the 2016 polls. Marcos accused her of cheating and filed an electoral protest against Robredo, prompting a counter-protest from the Vice President. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
Below are the guidelines set by the PET under the revision stage for the Marcos-Robredo electoral protest:
- The SC Gymnasium will be used for the revision proceedings. A portion of the 4th floor parking level of the SC-Court of Appeals Multi-Purpose Building and a room at the back of the Division Hearing Room will be used for the electoral protest as well.
- The Revision Committees will be composed of a recorder, a representative from both the protest and protestee, and a coordinator who must be a lawyer not affiliated with the SC. The Robredo and Marcos camps must also assign alternative representatives to the committees.
- Each Revision Committee will get P1,500 per clustered precinct. The money will be used for members’ compensation and supplies. The coordinator will receive P780, P480 for the recorder, and P184 will be allotted for supplies and materials. The document, however, did not specify what the remainder will be used for.
- The Exploratory Mission or Retrieval Team will be tasked to locate and examine the ballot boxes concerned in the electoral protest. The team is expected to watch over the ballot boxes’ transport to the SC.
Lawyer Victor Rodriguez, Marcos’s spokesperson, welcomed the PET’s latest resolution.
“We cannot wait for the actual process to start because it is the only way we’ll be able to ferret the truth. We have always maintained that the ballots themselves are the best evidence in any election protest. This is the reason why we have always pushed for the early revision of ballots,” said Rodriguez,
“We hope that this will expedite the process so this issue can be settles once and for all. The Filipino people deserve to know their real Vice President is,” he added.
The PET had earlier ordered the Vice President to pay P15 million for the 31,278 established precincts she is contesting in her counter-protest. Robredo already settled the first half of P8 million on May 2.
She was originally due to pay the 2nd installment of the protest fee on July 14, but the PET granted her first petition to extend the deadline. (READ: Robredo supporters urge SC: Accept P7-M payment for VP protest fee)
On August 18, the PET deferred Robredo’s payment of the remaining balance. She will make the payment “only after substantial recovery” in the 3 provinces Marcos identified where initial recounting of votes will be held to determine if his protest has merit. These are Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental.
Marcos already completed the payment of his P66.2-million protest fee.
Read a full copy of the resolution here: