By Alvin Murcia | Daily Tribune
Considering the very thin time left in the term of the contested position, our protest is under the real threat of becoming moot and academic by events leading to 2022 such as the filing of candidacy, campaign and national election that would reduce the clamor and right of the people to know who really won the vice presidency illusory.
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s camp on Wednesday welcomed the resolution of the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), saying it affirmed the validity of its election protest against Vice President Leonor “Leni” Robredo covering three provinces in Mindanao.
Marcos’ lawyer Victor Rodriguez, however, said he views the recent resolution with “extreme reservation” since it would further delay a decision on the election protest.
It might end up moot and academic, he said.
“We welcome this latest assertion by the Tribunal on the validity of our third cause of action calling for the annulment of the election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao as separate and distinct from the manual recount and judicial revision,” Rodriguez said.
“Considering the very thin time left in the term of the contested position, our protest is under the real threat of becoming moot and academic by events leading to 2022 such as the filing of candidacy, campaign and national election that would reduce the clamor and right of the people to know who really won the vice presidency illusory,” he added.
Marcos’ camp was reacting to the resolution released by the PET on 29 September which sought the positions of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) on certain issues related to the third cause of action of the election protest.
In a unanimous vote of 12 justices, with two of the 14 incumbent magistrates on leave, the PET decided to furnish the Comelec and the OSG with its 15 October 2019 resolution that was issued after the termination of the recount and revision of ballots in the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo and Negros Oriental.
The PET, in its 19 October 2019 resolution, directed Marcos and Robredo to submit their respective memoranda within 20 days on the former’s third cause of action relating to the election protest.
Thus, the PET also ordered the parties to provide the Comelec and OSG copies of their respective memoranda submitted in compliance with the 19 October resolution.
Marcos’ protest has three causes of action — annulment of the proclamation of Robredo; recount and revision of ballots in 36,465 protested clustered precincts; and annulment of election results for vice president in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan on the ground of alleged terrorism, intimidation and harassment of voters, as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts.
The PET dismissed Marcos’ first cause of action for as “meaningless and pointless.”
On the other hand, the PET decided to release the committee report on the revision and recount of the ballots on the three pilot provinces — Iloilo, Negros Oriental and Camarines Sur — involving 5,415 precincts.
At the same time, the PET shifted its focus on the third cause of action after it ordered the opposing parties to submit their respective memoranda on the issues raised therein.
Robredo’s lawyer Beng Sardillo also welcomed the PET’s resolution as it would fast-track the resolution of the election protest.
“We will comply with the High Tribunal’s order and wait for the comments of the Commission on Elections and the Solicitor General on the pending matters,” Sardillo said.