PRESIDENTIAL Electoral Tribunal (PET) sources yesterday clarified that the ballot recount in the electoral protest filed by former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was not suspended.
This was contrary to earlier reports that PET had indefinitely suspended the historic manual vote recount.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source said the recount was suspended only in two voting precints -- precinct 8 of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and clustered precinct 42 in Barangay Sabay, Valencia.
“(The suspension was) only as to precinct 8 of Tanjay City, Negros Oriental due to wet ballots and we instead directed head revisor to use decrypted ballot images,” the source said.
“Also suspended in clustered precinct 42 in Barangay Sabang, Valencia because no election return is in ballot box. Revision to proceed as to all other contested precincts,” the source continued.
Meanwhile, PET in an official statement said that the tribunal is near the end of the revision of ballots for the pilot provinces in PET Case No. 005 (Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. v. Maria Leonor G. Robredo), less than a year since it started. The revision involved 5,417 clustered precincts from the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental and started in April last year.
“On January 21, 2019, the revision of ballots was completed except for a few ballot boxes, which were referred to the Tribunal for further action, and the wet or damaged ballots, where the Tribunal directed the Revision Committee (RC) to use the decrypted ballot images provided by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC). The revision proceedings for the remaining ballot boxes and decrypted ballot images will continue on January 28, 2019. In the interim, the Tribunal shall prepare for the use of decrypted ballot images in the revision proceedings,” the statement read.
Other sources inside the tribunal also confirmed recount in the other contested precincts will push through.
“Not true, fake news. Be careful with rumors,” another insider said.
It was reported earlier that the tribunal had indefinitely suspended the proceeding. Lawyers for both camps had the same impression that the recount as a whole had been stopped.
“Yes, the PET made the announcement yesterday morning at around 9:30 am. at the Revision Floor and [the suspension is] effective until further notice as per PET,” Atty. Vic Rodriguez, Marcos’ spokesman said in a text message.
Atty. Beng Sardillo, counsel for Vice President Leni Robredo also confirmed the suspension.
“The revisors were advised yesterday that the revision will be suspended. PET did not give then any reason for the suspension,” Sardillo said.