SC orders Comelec to comment on VP recount threshold rule

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 13) - The Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), ordered the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to submit a comment on the current threshold rule in the ongoing Vice Presidential vote recount. 

In a resolution issued by the Tribunal dated July 10, 2018, the SC has directed the country's election body to 'file its own comment' on the threshold issue in the polls recount, where a 50 percent rule is currently applied.

Vice President Leni Robredo, through a motion for reconsideration, had earlier appealed on the lowering of the threshold. Her camp cited a 2016 letter by COMELEC to back up the proposal to consider as valid those ballots where only 25% of the oval space was shaded.

The Office of the Solicitor General filed a motion last week asking SC to uphold its earlier decision on the threshold issue, with SolGen Jose Calida saying there was "no basis to impose a 25% threshold in determining whether a vote is valid."

READ: OSG to PET: UPHOLD EARLIER DECISION ON THRESHOLD ISSUE

The PET ordered the election body to file the comment within 10 days of notice. 

Meanwhile, the high court also denied former Senator Bongbong Marcos' motion to investigate the alleged outing of PET revisors in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna. 

The Tribunal said it has denied the former senator's manifestation and motion to take a closer look at an alleged swimming outing joined by its revisors as well as a certain Osmundo Abuyuan, which was said to be a revisor of Vice President Robredo.

The Tribunal clarified it has already 'commenced and concluded its investigation' regarding the outing.

The camp of former senator Marcos meanwhile said in a statement that they were 'completely surprised and quite shocked' with the Tribunal's announcement.

"Former Senator Marcos as the Protestant has all the right to know and be duly notified by Justice (Alfredo) Caguioa as to when the investigation commenced, who conducted it, what was the findings and penalty meted out and for violating what?" read the statement issued by Marcos' spokesman Attorney Vic Rodriguez.

"The fact that we filed the Manifestation clearly indicates all of these - the illegal Pansol outing, the purported surreptitious investigation, the highly secretive penalty imposed - happened without our knowledge."

Marcos' camp also slammed Robredo's side, saying that the Vice President 'has already infiltrated some revisors of the PET.'

"Mrs. Robredo's inside information confirms our earlier submission that she has already infiltrated some revisors of the PET at the expense not only of Sen. Marcos' election protest but the entire Filipino people who are tirelessly waiting to know the truth on who really won the vice presidential elections," the statement added.

Marcos previously filed an electoral protest to demand a recount for the 2016 vice presidential polls. PET began a manual vote recount last April.