PET begins Iloilo ballot recount for VP protest

Mara Cepeda
PET begins Iloilo ballot recount for VP protest
The camp of Vice President Leni Robredo confirms that 3 ballot boxes from Ajuy town in Iloilo were opened Thursday afternoon, June 7

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has started recounting ballots from Iloilo for the electoral protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo.

On Friday, June 8, the lawyers of both camps told Rappler the ballot recount for Iloilo province began on Thursday, June 7. (READ: TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case

“It started yesterday,” Marcos’ legal counsel George Garcia said in a text message. 

Robredo’s lawyer, Bernadette Sardillo, said 3 ballot boxes from Ajuy town, Iloilo were opened Thursday afternoon.

Garcia and Sardillo clarified, however, that the recount of ballots from Camarines Sur is not yet finished. The recount process for Robredo’s home province started on April 2.

“There are still more or less 500 ballot boxes in the custody of the SET (Senate Electoral Tribunal) and the HRET (House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal) in view of the cases pending therein,” said Garcia. 

Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental are the 3 pilot provinces Marcos picked for the initial ballot recount. 

Marcos has to obtain a “substantial recovery” of votes in the 3 pilot provinces for the PET to determine if the two other causes of action in his protest have merit: to continue with the recount in 24 other areas, and to nullify the results in Basilan, Lanao del Sur, and Maguindanao. 

The PET has not yet officially announced what “substantial recovery” means. (READ: FACT CHECK: No results yet in ongoing 2016 VP election recount)

The Vice President has asked the PET to reconsider its ruling on setting the ballot shading threshold at 50%. Robredo wants the High Court to set it at 25% which, she argues, was the threshold set by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in the 2016 polls.  

Marcos, however, agrees with the PET and wants the ballot shading threshold to remain at 50%, a position that is also disputed by election law experts. (READ: Ex-poll chief Brillantes: 50% shading threshold ‘abnormal’ in VP recount

The shading threshold corresponds to the minimum area of the ballot oval shaded by the voter that the vote-counting machine would read as a valid vote. –

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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 or tweet @maracepeda.