(Eagle News) — The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has set March 19 as the start of the ballot recount in the electoral protest case of former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., against Vice-President Leni Robredo, moving the recount date for over a month allegedly because of the need for psychological tests for the revisors of the recount.
This came about as Robredo’s camp filed a motion to consider as “withdrawn” any pending motions if any that they have that may delay the ballot recount, even as their camp claimed they did not have any.
The motion was filed on Thursday, February 8, the same day that Marcos himself and his supporters held a rally before the Supreme Court, where he expressed dismay over the delay in the ballot recount that was supposed to start this month.
-Psychological evaluation for revisors-
The ballot recount was moved because the revisors should first undergo psychological evaluation before they could start the recount process.
The revisors will be part of the committee that will conduct the examination of the contested ballots in Marcos’ electoral protest case.
Marcos said that his supporters were there at the Supreme Court on Thursday, February 8, to hold a prayer vigil at the start of the recount.
“Kaya sila andito (The reason why they are here is) to hold a vigil. But the recount was moved to next month again. This prayer vigil turned into a protest to show displeasure,” Marcos told reporters at the event.
He rued that not one ballot box has been opened since he filed his electoral protest case with the PET in October 2016.
“It is almost two years but not one ballot box has been opened. I hope the recount will really push through next month,” he said.
The former senator also question why there was a need for a psychological test for the revisors, which was the reason the recount date was moved for a month.
“Bigla nagkaroon ng psychological test para sa revisor. Wala naman yan sa batas. Noong 2016 pwede ng gawin yon,” Marcos said.
Marcos filed his poll protest on June 29. 2016, a day before Robredo was sworn in as Vice-President. Marcos questioned Robredo’s victory, citing massive cheating in the May 2016 automated elections where Robredo only had a slim lead of 263,473 votes.
Marcos sought the annulment of election results in Basilan, Maguindanao, and Lanao del Sur, claiming that ballots there had been pre-shaded.
He also sought the recount of the votes in 36,000 precincts in 27 other areas (22 provinces and 5 cities).
He claimed that if all the votes from the said precincts were wither annulled or recounted, he would have enough votes to overcome Robredo’s lead.
The Robredo camp, however, insisted that there was no cheating in the elections.
-Robredo’s lawyer files motion to withdraw any pending motion on case-
Robredo’s lawyer, Atty. Romulo Macalintal said that the motion they filed on Thursday with the PET “was an acceptance of Marcos’ challenge that they file a motion to withdraw all pending motions that could stop the recount.”
Marcos had earlier signed a joint manifestation on the withdrawal of “any and all motions and incidents that may unduly delay or hamper the revision proceedings” in election protest for Vice-President , and dared Robredo to sign this too.
“Both the protestant (Marcos) and protestee (Robredo) further commit to refrain from filing any frivolous motion that will unwarrantedly interrupt, defer, postpone, suspend, delay, prolong and/or impede the conduct of the proceedings in this case,” the manifestation also added.
Robredo, however, did not sign the document, and her camp instead filed their own motion withdrawing any pending motions that they have with the PET.
But the document was supposedly only signed by Robredo’s lawyer, Macalintal, and not by the Vice-President herself.
Marcos’ spokesperson, Atty. Vic Rodriguez, added that the motion filed by Robredo was “a mere scrap of paper and may be later disowned by her as having been signed without her authority” since it was not signed by the vice president.
Marcos also noted that what Macalintal filed would not cover motions that the Robredo camp may file in the future. (with a report from Moira Encina, Eagle News Service)