By Rey G. Panaligan | Manila Bulletin
Former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asked the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) yesterday to set immediately his electoral protest for preliminary conference as he branded as “dilatory” the opposition aired by Vice President Ma. Leonor ‘Leni’ G. Lobredo.
In his 11-page reply to Robredo’s opposition, Marcos said the PET, composed of all the members of the Supreme Court (SC), should have set the preliminary conference as early as Sept. 9, 2016.
Under PET rules, the preliminary conference in an electoral protest is aimed at promptly disposing of a case.
The conference would consider “the possibility of obtaining stipulations or admissions of 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 such other matters as may aid in the prompt disposition of the election protest.”
At least five days before the date of the preliminary conference, parties to the case should furnish each other a conference brief before submission to the PET.
Marcos lost to Robredo by 263,473 votes in last May’s vice presidential election.
In his election protest, Marcos challenged the election results in 39,221 clustered precincts in 25 provinces and five cities in the country.
He included in his 1,000-page petition 20,000 pages of affidavits, certificates of canvass (COCs) and other supporting documents to support his claim of fraud in the last May 9 national and local elections.
Earlier, Robredo had told the PET that the issues raised by Marcos against her do not constitute an election protest and the case should be dismissed outright.