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outstanding women URGE SC IN VP POLL PROTEST: Apply 25% shading threshold

By Mara Cepeda MANILA --- Awardees of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS) are urging the Supreme Court (SC), acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to apply the 25% shading threshold in the ongoing ballot recount in the vice presidential electoral protest. Sixty TOWNS awardees expressed their “grave concern over the injustice that is currently happening at the recount of votes for the vice presidency.” “We believe that indiscriminately and arbitrarily changing the rules in the middle of the game is tantamount to stealing the votes of the Filipino people,” TOWNS said in a statement sent to reporters on Wednesday, May 16. The women are referring to the PET’s decision to junk Robredo’s petition to count ballot ovals that are shaded by one-fourth or 25% as valid votes. Instead, the SC set the shading threshold at 50%, which means only the ballot ovals that are at least half-shaded will be considered. Robredo has since filed a motion for reconsideration, arguing the Commission on Elections (Comelec) resolution set the shading threshold at only one-fourth of the ovals for the 2016 polls. This was the same argument by TOWNS in their statement. “We appeal to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal to refer to the latest resolution penned by the Commission on Elections en banc dated September 6, 2016. It confirmed the rules used by vote counting machines during the 2016 national and local elections,” said TOWNS. The women said they were in a “complete shock” when the PET decided to follow the 50% shading threshold, contrary to the Comelec resolution. “We want to have our voices heard. We ask the PET to respect justice and fair play and protect the votes of the ordinary Filipino by rescinding its new rule that sets a threshold of 50% shading,” said TOWNS. The election case against Vice President Leni Robredo was filed by her rival, ex-senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Meanwhile, a petition signed by over 10,000 registered voters of Naga City and Camarines Sur was forwarded last week to the Supreme Court for immediate appropriate action. The petition was led by Batutilan Bicol headed by Trinity Mayor of Naga City urging the Supreme Court acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to consider the 25% shading threshold.

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