MANILA — Lawyers of Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday called the attention of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) over the conduct of one of the lawyers of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. at the ongoing manual recount, alleging that it was an attempt not only to disrupt but “unduly influence” the process.
Lawyers Romulo Macalintal and Maria Bernadette Sardillo, Robredo’s legal counsels, filed a Second Manifestation of Grave Concern on Tuesday before the PET to raise the actions of Marcos lawyer, Joan Padilla, at the PET revision area on April 13.
Based on PET’s resolution dated April 10, the recount will observe a 50-percent threshold percentage — double the 25 percent that was configured in the vote counting machines in the 2016 elections.
In the manifestation, Macalintal said that instead of observing the proceedings on April 13, Padilla went around the revision area “aggressively telling the PET Head Revisors to implement the 50-percent threshold percentage, and to post the PET Resolution in every corner or table in the revision area.”
Macalintal said that Padilla “was also heard as informing the Head Revisors that she no longer wants the Revision Committees to check the votes of the parties vis-à-vis the Election Returns.”
Padilla stopped only after the attention of the PET Head Revisors was called, Macalintal said.
He added such conduct, “which (Padilla) herself will condemn or had condemned in election cases she handled with similar incidents,” not only disrupted the proceedings but can be construed as unduly influencing the PET Head Revisors.
Marcos’ spokesman, lawyer Vic Rodriguez, meanwhile dismissed the observations of Robredo’s lawyers as mere “gimmick” as the camp of the Vice President has no solid proof of wrongdoing by Padilla.
“They should attack the meat of the problem, which is the revision proper and not the collaterals… Whatever he (Macalintal) wants to file, go ahead,” Rodriguez told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) in an interview.
“Eh di pa-kasuhan nya si Attorney Padilla, pa dis-bar, pa-contempt nya. Bakit manifestation of grave concern? (Let them file a case against Attorney Padilla, file a disbarment case, cite her for contempt. Why a manifestation of grave concern?) If your concern is grave and it actually happened, file something bigger and greater than that,” he added.
Robredo’s camp formally raised concerns on the implementation of the 50-percent threshold to PET on April 5 through a motion.
On April 13, PET denied Robredo’s motion over the threshold to be applied at the recount. It also ordered the camps of Robredo and Marcos to explain why they disclosed “sensitive” information about the ongoing vote recount.
Both camps were also ordered to explain why they should not be held in contempt for violating the gag order on the vote recount within 10 days from receipt of a show cause order.
Marcos’ camp lauded the PET’s denial of Robredo’s motion as it “states effectively that she (Robredo) and her lawyers are ignorant of the rules on revision.”
Since the first day of the recount on April 2, Marcos has personally observed the proceedings, raising issues about alleged wet ballots and “missing” clustered precinct audit logs in municipality of Bato in Camarines Sur. Ma. Teresa Montemayor/PNA-northboundasia.com