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VP poll recount reset to April 2

By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan MANILA --- The Supreme Court, sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has rescheduled the recount of votes on the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on April 2. This was confirmed by both camps yesterday, March 14. Prior to this, the recount was first scheduled in February but was later reset on March 19. According to Marcos’ spokesperson, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, the PET cited lack of revisors as the reason for the move. The PET informed the parties that only 42 revisors passed the new mandatory psychological evaluation, thus the need for eight more to complete the required 50 vote revisors “Reason of PET is only 42 of the 50 revisors have qualified/passed the psychological exam. According to them, whether or not they can fill the remaining eight, manual recount will proceed on April 2,” Rodriguez said. Lawyer Maria Bernadette Sardillo, one of Robredo’s legal counsels, said the PET called for a meeting on Tuesday afternoon regarding the matter. “We expect to be called for another meeting soon to finalize arrangements. We trust the PET in these proceedings as it is in our best interest to finish this protest to quash any doubt about the choice of the Filipino people and the victory of Vice President Leni Robredo,” Sardillo said. The ballot recount covered the three pilot provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental which were chosen by Marcos as the best provinces where he could prove the irregularities he cited in his poll protest. Earlier, both camps agreed to withdraw all the motions they had filed before PET to be able to proceed with the recount. Marcos filed the protest on June 29 2016, claiming that the camp of Robredo cheated in the automated polls in May that year. In his protest, Marcos contested the results in a total of 132,446 precincts in 39,221 clustered precincts covering 27 provinces and cities. In his preliminary conference briefing, Marcos also sought for a recount in Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental. Robredo filed her answer in August last year and filed a counter-protest, questioning the results in more than 30,000 polling precincts in several provinces where Marcos won. She also sought the dismissal of the protest for lack of merit and jurisdiction of PET. The high tribunal, in a ruling earlier this year, junked Robredo’s plea and proceeded with the case after finding the protest sufficient in form and substance. Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes. PNA

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