MANILA, Philippines — Former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has asked the Supreme Court, sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to designate at least three hearing commissioners for the preliminary conference of his electoral protest against Vice President Leni Robredo.
The urgent motion filed by Marcos’ lawyer George Erwin Garcia before the high court said appointing the commissioners “will better facilitate an orderly, simplified and expeditious disposition of this electoral contest considering that there are three causes of action raised in this election protest.”
The motion asks a hearing commissioner assigned to each of the main issues raised by Marcos:
*the alleged “flawed” Automated Election System (AES)
*the failure of elections in several provinces in Mindanao
*the allegedly unauthorized introduction by Smartmatic’s Marlon Garcia of a new hash code into the transparency server on the day of the elections
Explaining the importance of appointing the hearing commissioners, Garcia said in a statement this was “so as not to muddle the proceedings” since their camp intends to “present a specific set of witnesses and documentary exhibits per cause of action.”
“Public interest demands that this electoral controversy be resolved with dispatch to determine once and for all the genuine choice of the electorate for the contested position. The designation of 3 hearing commissioners, as suggested by protestant Marcos, shall surely aid this Honorable Tribunal in achieving its mandate to ensure a prompt and expeditious resolution of this election protest,” Garcia said in the motion.
“Moreover, it is neither fair nor just to keep in office for an uncertain period one whose right to it is under suspicion. It is imperative that his claim be immediately cleared not only for the benefit of the winner but for the sake of public interest, which can only be achieved by brushing aside technicalities of procedure which protract and delay the trial of an ordinary action,” he added.
The Supreme Court has scheduled the preliminary conference on Marcos’ protest and Robredo’s counter-protest on June 21.