MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) has given the Commission on Elections (Comelec) 10 days from receipt of notice to comment on the ballot shading threshold issue in the vice presidential electoral protest.
In a notice dated July 10 but sent to reporters on Friday, July 13, the SC, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), told the Comelec to file its comment on the matter “within a non-extendible period of 10 days from notice hereof.”
The SC is acting as PET in the election case of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The PET has previously set the ballot shading threshold – the minimum amount of a shade in a ballot oval for the tribunal to consider it as a valid vote – at 50%, which is supported by Marcos. This means ballot ovals that are only half-shaded will be considered valid.
But Robredo is appealing to the High Court to lower the ballot shading threshold to 25%, as she argued this was the threshold set by the Comelec during the 2016 polls.
The Comelec has remained mum on the issue so far. (READ: Ex-poll chief Brillantes: 50% shading threshold 'abnormal' in VP recount)
Solicitor Jose Calida had previously represented the poll body in the electoral protest, asking the PET thrice to extend their period for comment and delaying the resolution of the issue for 45 days.
On July 4, Calida filed a manifestation with the PET to say that he supports the 50% shading threshold, favoring his ally Marcos and in effect dropping the Comelec. In the same manifestation, Calida asked the Comelec be given another 10 days to file its comment on its own.
Robredo herself said she was not surprised by Calida’s move, calling him as the “number one Marcos supporter.”
Her lawyers also filed a manifestation asking the PET to give the Comelec only 5 days to comment. But the High Court merely took “note [of her plea] without action.” – Rappler.com