Daily Tribune - Another win for Marcos

18 July 2019

By Ninez Cacho-Olivares | Daily Tribune

A recent Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) issued a resolution giving 2016 vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos a win as the SC junked the urgent motion filed by protestee, Vice President Leni Robredo.

“All the PET seems to do is to wait out the term of the sitting president or vice president, after which the Tribunal comes up with a decision that finds the case.

Leni’s motion asked the court to resolve the pending election protest that was filed by Marcos against her. It was dismissed on account of being a premature motion.

It’s a small win for Marcos, but a win nevertheless, since this translates to Marcos and his lawyers going forward in their protest against Robredo, whose lawyer, losing yellowed Otso Diretso Romulo Macalintal with his usual propaganda style, had been making it appear that the case of Marcos is almost over and that Leni is the legitimately elected vice president of the Philippines.

The PET resolution states that “the Tribunal has yet to complete the proceedings following Rule 65 of the 2010 PET Rules, which entail judicial recount, revision and appreciation of the votes cast in the protestant’s pilot provinces. The figures submitted by protestee are merely speculative.

“In arriving at the figures, protestee presumes that all her claims will be admitted by the Tribunal. This premise is fundamentally flawed as the Tribunal is still in the process of appreciation of the revised ballot and ruling on the respective objections and claims made by the parties thereon. The Tribunal’s final tally of votes after recount and appreciation has yet to be completed and released.”

The junking of Leni’s motion stemmed from her counsel prematurely seeking the immediate resolution of the election protest.

The motion came with a claim that was without basis, as Robredo’s lawyer claimed that in the revision, recount and reappreciation of ballots from the three pilot provinces chosen by the protestant, Leni had gained as much as 15,000 votes.

A figure such as 15,000 votes are enough for Leni and Macalintal to claim victory and more than enough to shut up the Marcos camp as well as for the protestant to give up his protest against Leni.

Leni and her lawyer appear to be out of luck, as even her camp’s figures may have been plucked from thin air.

This has been noted by the PET as its resolution also zeroed in Leni’s camp’s computations on the figures being “speculative.”

“In protestee’s Motion, she prays that the Tribunal immediately resolve all pending incidents after the revision and recount of the ballots.

“Protestee presented her own computation of the total national votes for protestant and protestee ‘after revision, recount, and re-appreciation,’ claiming that her victory as Vice President has been confirmed.

“In effect, what protestee seeks is the immediate resolution of the instant protest.

Protestee’s Motion is likewise premature,” the Tribunal’s resolution said.

While the resolution has given Marcos and his camp a bit of reason to cheer, it’s still a long wait for them to have their protest finally resolved.

It has been all of some three years, and the PET is still on just that resolution stage of dismissing the protestee’s motion. However, even this PET resolution is just a small step in the Tribunal resolving the important issue of the real choice of the electorate.

Just how long does it take the PET to resolve election cases? And why does it take too long to resolve a protest case?

Even more importantly, why has the record of PET not really resolved each and every presidential and vice-presidential protests?

All the PET seems to do is to wait out the term of the sitting president or vice president, after which the Tribunal comes up with a decision that finds the case moot, as the term is over.

What PET seems to do every time is not to do anything but wait, usually for three years until such time that a losing presidential or vice-presidential protestant decides to run for a Senate seat. With that, the PET goes into action with a decision that says the protestant has abandoned his or her protest, having decided to run for a lower elective seat.

It even takes a longer time to resolve cases when the protestant is a vice-presidential and presidential candidate, as it takes the PET all of six years to wrap up the protest and all because the term of a president and vice president is all of six years.

Tens of millions are spent by these candidates who may have won but lost the elective seat that would have been his or her had the PET done its bound duty to decide which candidate has been honestly elected by the voters to be their officials and for that protestant to rightly take that seat years before the term ends.

It is wrong for the PET to virtually twiddle its thumbs and wait for the protestants’ terms to end before coming up with a decision.

It is highly unfair, especially since the PET or the Senate or the House electoral tribunals just sit back and wait for terms to lapse or get into another election for them to decide these protests.

It is time for these tribunals, especially the PET, to start giving the Filipino electorate the candidate who is the real choice of the people to take his legitimate seat, not the fraudulent machine vote.