GMA News Online - Bongbong asks PET to hold preliminary conference on poll protest

26 January 2017

By Virgil Lopez | GMA News Online 

Former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Thursday asked the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to direct parties to thresh out issues in relation to his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.

In a motion, Marcos called on the SC to "immediately" set a preliminary conference on the case.

According to the 2010 Rules of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, a preliminary conference is held after the last pleadings from the parties to the case have been submitted.

In this case, Marcos said the last pleading had been filed and served as early as September 9, 2016.

A preliminary conference is tasked to consider the following:

- The possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of facts and documents to avoid unnecessary proof;
- The simplification of the issues;
- The limitation of the number of witnesses;
- The most expeditious manner for the retrieval of ballot boxes containing the ballots, election returns, certificates of canvass and other election documents involved in the election protest; and
- Such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the election protest or petition for quo warranto

Marcos lost to Robredo by just 263,473 votes in the May 2016 election which the former senator claimed was marred by fraud.

Marcos cited alleged pre-shading of ballots, massive vote buying, script change in the transparency server that supposedly altered the results, pre-loaded secure digital cards, misreading of ballots, malfunctioning vote counting machines, and an "abnormally high" unaccounted votes/undervotes for the position of vice president.

Robredo, on the other hand, has asked the PET to dismiss the case, saying the grounds raised by Marcos could not be used for a poll protest and the allegations of cheating and vote buying are just a "series of wild accusations, guesses, and surmises."