THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has backed an appeal by Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo, citing that the 25% shading threshold was used in the 2016 general elections.
“In the 9 May 2016 (elections), the Comelec generally instructed the voters to fully shade the ovals of the ballots. However, it ha(d) set the shading threshold of the oval at about 25% to guarantee that the votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading or that no accidental or unintended small marks are counted as votes,” Comelec said in its comment to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) dated July 23.
“All election results are based on this threshold,” Comelec also said in its comment.
The Comelec recalled in its comment that during the 2010 National and Local Elections, “the shading threshold was set at 50%” and shadings from 25% to 49% were “considered ambiguous marks.” The poll body Comelec argued this process lengthened queuing time in the polling place. Thus the threshold was thereafter set at 25%.
Ms. Robredo’s legal counsel Romulo B. Macalintal said in a statement on Thursday, “It is not only historical in the highly specialized field of election law, but more importantly it was a vindication of our voters’ constitutional right of suffrage which was placed in danger by some procedural technicalities raised by Marcos in the course of the revision and recount of the ballots at the PET.”
Former senator Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has a pending protest against Ms. Robredo’s election victory in 2016 as recognized by the Comelec, and has urged PET to apply the 50% shading rule.
The Supreme Court has dismissed Ms. Robredo’s petition to consider the 25% shading threshold and she has filed a motion for reconsideration last June. — Gillian M. Cortez