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SC cancels retrieval of Iloilo City ballot boxes in VP recount

Mara Cepeda
Vice President Leni Robredo's legal consultant says the Presidential Electoral Tribunal's representatives in Iloilo province received a verbal order to stop retrieving ballot boxes from Iloilo City

BALLOT RETRIEVAL. Two men stack ballot boxes from Guimbal, Iloilo as they arrive at the Supreme Court's staging area for the ballot retrieval process. Photo from Robredo's legal team

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), canceled the retrieval of ballot boxes from Iloilo City for the ongoing ballot recount in the vice presidential electoral protest. 

Lawyer Emil Marañon III, legal consultant of Vice President Leni Robredo, told this to reporters on Tuesday, May 22, the second day of the retrieval of ballot boxes in Iloilo province

“This morning, naka-receive ng verbal order iyong Supreme Court representatives dito sa Iloilo na pinapa-cancel iyong retrieval ng ballot boxes sa Iloilo. So, I think na kinonsider naman ng Supreme Court actually iyong ni-raise namin na point,” said Marañon.

(This morning, the Supreme Court representatives here in Iloilo received a verbal order to cancel the retrieval of ballot boxes from Iloilo City. So I think the Supreme Court actually considered the point we raised.)

The collection of ballot boxes from Iloilo City was initially scheduled on Tuesday.  

But Marañon pointed out on Monday, May 21, that Iloilo City is “separate and independent” from Iloilo province, one of the 3 pilot provinces chosen by Robredo’s rival, ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, for the initial recounting of votes. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case

Iloilo City was converted into a chartered city that is independent of Iloilo province through Commonwealth Act No. 158.

During elections, Iloilo City’s certificate of canvass is separate from that of Iloilo province. A certificate of canvass is the document summarizing the total number of votes garnered by each candidate in the city or municipality.

Aside from Iloilo province, the other two pilot provinces chosen by Marcos are Camarines Sur and Negros Oriental. The PET is currently recounting ballots from Camarines Sur.

The PET said the results of the initial ballot recount in these 3 pilot provinces will determine if the rest of Marcos’ electoral protest has merit. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.