By Julius Leonen | Daily Tribune
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bangbong” Marcos, the losing vice presidential candidate is hot on his heels to speed up the electoral protest he filed against declared Vice President Leni Robredo before the Supreme Court acting as a Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) although Robredo and her lawyer are evidently delaying the protest lodged against her victory as they have again filed a motion to delay the preliminary conference in his poll protest, making some supporters of Marcos Jr. wonder which of the two wants to know the truth behind the alleged poll fraud during the presidential elections last May, 2016 following the many delays.
The camp of former Marcos Jr. blasted Vice President Robredo for “continuously cheating the Filipino people by depriving them of their rightful Vice President” as they affirmed their motion to set their election protest for preliminary conference before the Supreme Court (SC).
The Marcos camp yesterday filed its 11-page reply to Robredo’s opposition to set the electoral protest for preliminary conference before the SC, which is currently serving as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
It insisted that Robredo has not presented “any compelling reason” in accordance with the 2010 Rules of the PET on why the SC should not proceed with the case.
In the reply, the former senator, through Marcos lawyer, George Erwin Garcia, said Robredo’s opposition was “obviously dilatory in nature,” accusing them of diverting the issue with “ambiguous and distorted arguments.”
Marcos added in his pleading that Robredo made misleading statements when she insisted in her opposition that pending incidents have to be resolved first before a preliminary conference.
“In a long line of decided cases, the Supreme Court has held that in an election protest, different causes of action can proceed independently of each other. This is because the sovereign will of the people is the core issue in an election protest,” the pleading stated.
“Thus, the purpose of a Preliminary Conference is precisely to avoid unnecessary delays and speed up the process so that the people’s voice will be heard,” it added.
Moreover, the Marcos camp said that Robredo is out “to prevent the truth about the massive cheating” allegedly perpetrated during the 2016 elections.
Marcos, Leni in SD cards tussle
To recall, the camps of Marcos and Robredo got into a tussle over supposedly untouched SD cards in several Vote Counting Machines (VCMs) which were found to have contained data.
Following the discovery, the Marcos camp claimed that “massive fraud was indeed committed during the last elections,” insisting that the SD cards should have been empty since the VCMs were supposed to be untouched.
The Robredo camp fired back, stressing that the SD cards cannot be used as evidence to support Marcos’ electoral protest because it is not covered in the complaint filed before the SC.
The Marcos camp said in its reply that while such issues would be discussed in the preliminary conference, these could eventually be threshed out for the electoral protest to be expedited.
“The conduct of the Preliminary Conference cannot be stifled by the pending incidents in this case,” the pleading stated.
“If protestee Robredo has nothing to hide, why does she keep trying to delay the proceedings? What is there to fear about a simple Preliminary Conference?” it added.
In an ambush interview yesterday during the filing, lawyer Victor Rodriguez, Marcos’ legal counsel, accused Robredo for perpetrating delaying tactics to hamper their electoral protest.
Rodriguez added that Robredo is scared that “the truth will come out” as their camp is determined to prove that it is Marcos who really won the vice presidential race, not her.
“Not content with having cheated Marcos and her way to vice presidency, Leni Robredo is continuously cheating the Filipino people by depriving them of their rightful vice president and for the speedy resolution of this election protest,” Rodriguez said.
“Obviously, it is Leni Robredo’s interest to further delay the whole process. She is afraid of the truth. She is afraid of the real mandate of the Filipino people,” Rodriguez said.
“It has become obvious that delay has become the name of Leni Robredo’s game and it has been months after Marcos filed this election protest. And they are doing everything (to put a stop to the process). She is determined to suppress the genuine will of the Filipino people,” Rodriguez said.
“There is no resolution yet on the ex-parte motion to set the case for preliminary conference. But we believe and we are very positive that the Tribunal will eventually notice that all that Robredo is doing is merely to delay the speedy disposition of this electoral protest,” Rodriguez said.
Robredo camp asks SC to set aside poll protest
The Robredo camp yesterday filed a Motion for Reconsideration before the SC in an attempt to dissuade the SC from allowing former Senator Marcos’ electoral protest to proceed.
In their 22-page motion filed yesterday, Robredo, through her lawyer Macalintal, asked the High Court to reconsider its decision to hear Marcos’ electoral protest.
It will be recalled that the SC denied Robredo’s appeal to dismiss the electoral protest in an eight-page resolution dated January 30, where it affirmed its jurisdiction over the petition which it said was sufficient in form and substance.
Macalintal dismissed the resolution finding the protest sufficient in form and substance as merely “a matter of course and purely procedural,” saying that it is not a setback for their camp.