By Tetch Torres-Tupaz | Inquirer.net
Former senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Thursday asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to proceed with its hearing on his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In his two-page motion, Marcos through his legal counsel Vic Rodriguez urged the PET to set the case for preliminary conference so that his electoral protest can now proceed.
‘Today, Senator Marcos presses on with his quest and march for truth with the filing of an ex-parte motion to set the case for preliminary conference. The motion is very important as we expect the PET to usually dispose of this incident with such dispatch and urgency so that the case will come into motion,” Rodriguez told reporters after filing the motion.
“The importance of our ex-parte motion ay para ho magtuloy-tuloy na ‘yung pagdinig ng election protest at inaasahan po natin na maglalabas na rin sila ng kautusan upang magbigay ng takdang araw at panahon para gawin ang preliminary conference,’ he added.
(The importance of our ex-parte motion is to get the ground running for our election protest and we expect them to come up with a date for the preliminary conference.)
Based on the 2010 Rules of the PET, a preliminary conference is held after the last pleadings from the parties to the case have been submitted.
At a preliminary conference, both parties will stipulate on facts and documents to avoid unnecessary proof, the simplification of the issues, the limitation of the number of witnesses, the most expeditious manner for the retrieval of ballot boxes containing the ballots, election returns, certificates of canvass and other election documents involved in the election protest and other matters that may aid in the prompt disposition of the electoral protest.
Marcos will also be asked to post a specific amount as a cash bond to the PET to cover for the expenses including the recount of ballots.
Rodriguez said the last pleading had been filed and served as early as September last year.
Last year, the high court issued a permanent protection order (PPO) covering all the ballot boxes and their contents, including the ballots, voter’s receipts and election returns, the lists of voters, particularly the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List (EDCVL), and voters registration records (VRRs), and the books of voters and the audit logs, transmission logs, and all log files.
Also covered by the PPO were all other documents or paraphernalia used in the elections, including the automated election equipment and records such as the VCMs, CCS units, Secure Digital (SD) cards (main and back up), and the other data storage devices containing electronic data and ballot images, evidencing the conduct and the results of the elections in all of 92,509 clustered precincts that functioned in the last elections.
Marcos, in his protest, cited a string of fraud, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections and that such activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party.
Robredo came away as the winner of the race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos, who got 14,155,344 votes.