Journal Online - Marcos camp seeks Leonen inhibition anew

8 November 2020

By Hector Lawas | Journal Online

FORMER Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is set to file a motion today, Monday, seeking the inhibition of Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen from the electoral protest case now pending before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) against Vice President Leni Robredo.

This was revealed by a source inside the Marcos camp over the weekend, adding the decision to press for Leonen’s inhibition came following the comment-compliance of the Office of the Solicitor General and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to a PET order dated September 29, 2020.

In their separate submissions, the Comelec and OSG shared the same stand that PET can invalidate the election results in three Mindanao provinces. Marcos has sought to nullify election results in Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao due to alleged electoral fraud during the 2016 vice presidential election.

In its 40-page comment, the OSG cited as its legal basis Article VII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution, which stated that “the tribunal shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President and may promulgate rules for the purpose.”

“In the case at bar, it is indubitable that even if the votes cast in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan are declared null and void, there is no failure to elect to speak of. On the contrary, the ultimate winner, or the one with majority (or plurality) of the valid votes cast, is easy determinable. ”

” All told, it is respectfully submitted that the Honorable Tribunal has the power to declare the anullment of elections or a failure of elections without infringing upon the COMELEC’s authority, but it has no concomitant power to order the conduct of special elections, ” the comment read.

Marcos earlier said that the decision of Leonen, the justice-in-charge of his election protest, will only further delay the resolution of his case that is in danger of becoming moot and academic due to the very limited time left in the term of office of the contested position.

The source added that Marcos is convinced that for as long as Leonen is in charge of his case, he will not get a fair and impartial treatment considering the magistrate’s “open expression of extreme bias and prejudice against him and his entire family.”

Marcos is poised to lead by more or less 45,000 thousand votes if the results for the three provinces in Mindanao are annulled by the PET due to various election related frauds such as massive substituted voting.

Meanwhile, Marcos lawyer and spokesman Vic Rodriguez earlier said that they would move for the immediate proclamation of Marcos when they have successfully presented their third cause of action calling for the annulment of the results of the 2016 election for vice-president in the areas of Lanao Del Sur, Basilan and Maguindanao.

In his electoral protest, Marcos’ third cause of action was the annulment of election results for vice president in the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Basilan, and Maguindanao.

Marcos also asked PET to get handwriting experts to validate voter signatures in the provinces of Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan which he claimed were highly questionable and dubious.

“The results in the appreciation of the ballots in the pilot precincts are not mathematically insurmountable as to render the third cause of action moot and academic,” he said.

Marcos asked that the 477,985 votes Robredo garnered in the three Mindanao provinces be immediately voided. Marcos got 169,160 votes in these areas.

Voiding the votes in these provinces would wipe out Robredo’s lead of 263,473 votes during the last vice presidential election.

Robredo won the vice presidential race in the May 2016 polls with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos’ 14,155,344 votes.