By Juan Escandor Jr.
PILI, Camarines Sur --- The recount in three of 25 provinces that former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. included in his election protest against Vice President Leni Robredo is crucial for the protest to proceed, Robredo’s legal counsel said Tuesday.
“Last year, the Supreme Court had already dismissed the question of integrity of the automated election system. That’s why it has to proceed to the recounting of votes. In these provinces (Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental) he (Marcos) selected, his case will rise or fall,” said lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo.
Sardillo said if Marcos could not prove that he was cheated in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental after the recount of votes, then his case should be dismissed.
These provinces are among those said to be the strongholds of Robredo’s Liberal Party.
Marcos’ representatives here declined to give any statement on the retrieval of ballot boxes and election documents in Camarines Sur, the home province of Robredo.
The official results in Camarines Sur in the 2016 vice presidential race showed that Robredo garnered 664,190 votes (85 percent) while Marcos, 41,219 (5 percent).
The Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) started the retrieval of ballot boxes election documents in Camarines Sur’s 26 towns and Iriga City on Tuesday.
Alexander Marpuri, spokesperson for the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec), said the ballot boxes and election documents covering the first, second, fourth and fifth districts of Camarines Sur would be retrieved and turned over to the PET from Tuesday to Friday by the local treasurers and election officers.
Marpuri said the ballot boxes and election documents in the third district were sent to the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) last year in connection with the election protest of Luis Villafuerte against Camarines Sur Rep. Gabriel Bordado Jr.