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Uphold 25% threshold in PET recount: Stratbase ADRi

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OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT

IMPOSING the 50% threshold in the vice-presidental ballot recount will disenfranchise voters, think tank Stratbase ADRi said, Sunday.

“The ruling would grossly violate the rights of all voters in the 2016 elections as their votes that had already been duly counted and canvassed would be invalidated,” Stratbase ADRi President Victor Andres C. Manhit said in a statement.

Mr. Manhit was referring to the ruling made by the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), which denied Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo’s motion for a 25% shading threshold on the ballots under review.

Mr. Manhit also noted that “National opinion polls, foreign observers and independent election watch dogs have assessed the 2016 elections to be one of the most credible in recent memory.”

The statement also cited a study for Stratbase by political science expert Francisco A. Magno, concluding that “The general assessment of the 2016 Philippine automated elections is undeniably positive and was far better than the past two automated elections in 2010 and 2013.”

The statement also cited Democracy Watch secretary-general Maria Claudette Guevara as saying, “The true will of the Filipino electorate cannot be fully ascertained if the PET will deviate from the standards by which the ballots were appreciated by the vote counting machines.”

“The results of the subsequent random manual audit revealed a near-perfect accuracy of 99.9023 percent for the vote counting machines,” the Stratbase statement also quoted her as saying.

“Fairness would dictate that a review of the votes being questioned should be made on the same set of rules and standards implemented during the 2016 National Elections. Changing the rules makes no sense and even insinuates that the votes received by all elected officials, from the President to local officials, especially those closely contested positions, should be recounted,” Ms. Guevara said further.

Solicitor-General Jose C. Calida has submitted his comment affirming PET’s upholding the 50% shading threshold. — Charmaine A. Tadalan