Robredo asks SC to junk OSG extension plea for poll recount comment

MANILA — The camp of Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to dismiss the motion filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) asking for another extension to file a comment on her appeal to uphold the 25 percent shading threshold in determining the validity of votes in the 2016 vice presidential race.

In a five-page motion dated June 29 but was released to media on Monday, Robredo, through her lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, expressed her “vehement opposition” to the third motion filed by the OSG saying that the latter’s continued failure to comment on the April 24 resolution of the tribunal is delaying the resolution of her appeal.

“If motion for extension of time to file answer to an election protest is not allowed under the rules, except for “compelling reasons” and only for a period not exceeding 10 days there is no compelling reason why the Solicitor General and or Comelec would be given more than 10 days to file its comment on an issue the answer to which is already available to the Comelec,” Robredo said.

“Hence, this vehement opposition to the third motion for extension of time filed by the Solicitor General since it would already total to a whopping 40 days period to file said comment and protestee’s motion that the said threshold issue be now resolved even without the said comment of the Solicitor General and or Comelec (Commission on Elections),” she added.

In its April 24 resolution, the Tribunal directed the Comelec to comment on Robredo’s appeal within 10 days from notice.

The OSG, which represents Comelec in the case, received a copy of the resolution on May 17.

On May 28, the OSG filed the first motion asking the tribunal for it to be given 15 days to comment on Robredo’s appeal.

On June 11, it filed another appeal asking for 15 days or until June 28 and on June 26, it again asked for another 15 days to file its comment.

In its five-page resolution dated April 10, the PET denied Robredo’s plea to direct the head revisors to apply the correct threshold percentage as set by the Comelec in the revision, recount and reappreciation of the ballots, in order to expedite the proceedings for lack of merit.

Robredo immediately filed a motion for reconsideration and argued that allowing a 50 percent threshold would disenfranchise voters because votes that fell below the 50 percent threshold have already been counted as valid by the Vote Counting Machines in the 2016 national and local elections and then confirmed by the Random Manual Audit.

The camp of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has already opposed Robredo’s motion and asked the Tribunal to dismiss her plea.

In his comment, Marcos said there was “no categorical declaration” in Comelec resolution No. 16-0600 that the 25-percent shading threshold was adopted by the poll body en banc “during the judicial recount and revision of ballots in election protest.”

The PET started the recount last April 2 and said it could not determine yet when the recount would be finished.

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. With reports from Rachel Banares/OJT/  (FILE PHOTO)