- Comelec has commented on the issue of ballot shading threshold
- It is supporting Robredo’s plea to implement the 25% ballot shading threshold in the manual recount
- This is a complete departure from OSG’s opinion
The Commission on Election (Comelec) has contradicted the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) and sided with Vice President Leni Robredo over the issue of the shading threshold that must be used in the manual recount of votes in connection with the poll protest filed by Bongbong Marcos.
In its comment dated July 23, the poll body told the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) the ballot shading threshold in the May 2016 national and local elections was set at 25% “in order to ensure that votes are not wasted due to inadequate shading or that not accidental or unintended small marks are counted as votes in order to reflect the true intent of the voter.”
This was contrary to the opinion of Solicitor General Jose Calida who earlier this month said in a manifestation that votes will not be disenfranchised if a higher threshold is used since the voters were advised that “for their votes to be counted, they should fully shade the oval space.”
But Comelec maintained it has decided to calibrate the automated voter counting system for the May 9, 2016 National and Local Elections to read as valid votes, marks that cover at least about 25% (when seen by human eyes) of the oval for each candidate.
“All election results are based on this threshold,” the poll body, headed by Commissioner Sherif Abbas, a Duterte appointee, noted.
The Comelec also asserted its own constitutional authority to administer election and decide all questions pertaining to the exercise even as it acknowledged the PET’s powers as the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the president and vice-president to promulgate rules and regulations relative to the matters within its jurisdiction.
“To use a different standard would be erroneous and may result in unnecessary questions on the legitimacy of all elected officials, from the President down to the last Sangguniang Bayan member,” said the Comelec.