MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo’s camp is opposing the 3rd attempt of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to delay filing a comment on the election protest of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The Vice President’s camp is seeking the resolution of the ballot shading threshold issue. In the recount of votes, the Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), is applying the 50% shading threshold – meaning, it counts a vote to a candidate’s favor only if at least half of the oval across her or his name is shaded.
Robredo had appealed this rule, citing a Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution in 2016 that lowered to 25% the shading threshold recognized by the vote-counting machines. (TIMELINE: Marcos-Robredo election case)
Robredo’s lawyer, Romeo Macalintal, said in a 5-page opposition the OSG had been given enough time to respond to the PET’s order for the Comelec to comment on the urgent motion for reconsideration.
The PET’s order was received on May 17, 2018, with a directive for the Comelec to comment within 10 days. The OSG, manifesting as counsel for the Comelec, requested an additional 15 days, then filed another 15-day motion for extension on June 11 to comment on the matter.
Macalintal said, “Before June 26, the OSG has had a total of 40 days to confer with [its client] the Comelec and submit its comment to the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration.”
The OSG, however, filed an additional motion for extension of 15 days. This would bring the extensions as far as July 11, 2018.
“The continued failure of the OSG to submit the comment for and in behalf of the Comelec has resulted to the delay in the disposition of the urgent motion for reconsideration” filed by the Robredo camp as early as April 19, says the “vehement opposition to the Solicitor General’s third motion for extension” filed by Macalintal on June 29.
The Robredo camp pointed out that determining the shading threshold is an administrative, and not a quasi-judicial, matter so the poll body “could directly file its comment” with the PET on Robredo’s motion.
The Vice President’s camp also said the PET could in fact resolve the issue already without waiting for OSG’s comment. The tribunal, they said, has a copy of the Comelec resolution dated September 4, 2016, that “any mark that covers at least 25% of the oval is considered a vote, has no questions about the authenticity and genuineness of the Comelec resolution. – Rappler.com