By JOEL R. SAN JUAN | Business Mirror
THE Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), has directed Vice President Leni Robredo to answer the plea of vice presidential rival and former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., seeking the reversal of the decision dismissing the election protest filed against her.
SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka said the order was issued by the Court en banc during its session last June 15 but was only made public on Monday.
“I confirm that the Presidential Electoral Tribunal in its resolution of June 15, 2021 in PET Case No. 005 has required respondent VP Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo to file her comment to the motion for reconsideration dated May 6, 2021 filed by protestee Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ R. Marcos Jr., within a period of 10 days from receipt of notice,” Hosaka announced.
In his motion for reconsideration, Marcos pleaded to the Court to continue looking into his election protest, in particular, the election results in three provinces in Mindanao.
He also asked the Court to create a special committee that would conduct hearings, receive evidence and access the evidence for his third cause of action, which seeks to annul the election results in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan.
Furthermore, the former senator urged the Court to direct the Commission on Elections’ (Comelec) handwriting experts to conduct the technical examination of the voters’ signatures appearing on the Election Day Computerized Voters List (EDCVL) as against the voters’ signatures appearing on the Voters Registration Records (VRRs) in the said three provinces.
In its ruling issued last February, the PET described Marcos’s election protest as “bare, laden with generic and repetitious allegations, and lack information as to the time, place, and manner” of the alleged irregularities.
In his election protest case, Marcos identified three pilot provinces as Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Robredo’s Camarines Sur home province.
But the PET said Marcos failed to prove that there was a massive election fraud among his designated pilot provinces.
Thus, the PET said Marcos could not insist on the annulment of the election results in the three provinces in Mindanao.
The PET said the rules direct the immediate dismissal of the election protest without further consideration of the other provinces.
Nevertheless, the tribunal noted that for a full disposition of the election protest, it extensively scrutinized Marcos’s allegations and assessed the evidence he presented to support his claims under the third cause of action.
The PET eventually decided not to give it due course due to loopholes in the affidavits of witnesses and absence of ad hoc rules.
In his appeal, Marcos insisted that the existence or non-existence of procedural rules “should never be an obstacle in ascertaining who the voters chose to be their leaders.”
Marcos argued that the PET erred in not considering the annulment of election results as an independent distinct and separate cause of action, which can proceed on its own despite the dismissal of his second cause of action for judicial revision and recounting of ballots.