By Virgil Lopez | GMA News Online
The camp of former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. on Tuesday welcomed the directive of the Supreme Court (SC), sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), to order the retrieval of ballots which will be used for his poll protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Marcos' requests for retrieval of ballots and decryption and printing of ballot images in the pilot areas for the recount—Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental—were granted by the tribunal, according to the resolution issued on August 29 but released to the media only on Tuesday.
“We have the case exactly where we wanted it to be, the conduct of manual recount and judicial revision and the presentation of proof," said Marcos' legal spokesperson Victor Rodriguez in a text message.
The PET also denied Robredo's motion for reconsideration on its January 24, 2017 resolution allowing Marcos' protest to proceed, arguing she only rehashed her arguments which had already been passed upon by the tribunal when it upheld the sufficiency in form and in substance of the protest.
The tribunal, however, deferred action on Marcos’ request to conduct a technical examination on voters' signatures in each of the 2,756 clustered precincts in Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Basilan.
The PET also dismissed Marcos' first cause of action which sought to annul the proclamation of Robredo as winner of the 2016 vice presidential race on the ground of "unauthentic" certificates of canvass used during the congressional canvass.
With the first cause of action already rejected, Marcos' protest would be limited to revision or manual recount of the actual ballots and annulment of election results for the position of vice president in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur and Basilan on the ground of terrorism, intimidation, harassment of voters and pre-shading of ballots.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in the May 2016 elections, which the former senator claimed was marred by fraud.