By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard
The Supreme Court, acting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has ordered Vice President Leni Robredo to comment on the motion for reconsideration filed by former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., whose election protest was dismissed by the tribunal last Feb. 16.
The PET gave Robredo 10 days to file her answer from receipt of the resolution issued last June 15, SC spokesperson Brian Keith F. Hosaka said in a text message to reporters.
Robredo had yet to comment on the order as of press time.
In a unanimous vote, the PET upheld the victory of Vice President Robredo in 2016 as it dismissed Marcos’ protest.
Seven justices voted to dismiss Marcos’ protest while eight justices voted in the result – the dismissal of the protest. The decision was written by Associate Justice Marvic M.V.F. Leonen.
Last May 6, Marcos filed a motion to reconsider the ruling, pleading the PET to “proceed with the presentation of evidence for the third cause of action.”
The former senator’s protest against Robredo has three causes of action — annulment of the proclamation of Robredo; recount and revision of ballots in 36,465 protested clustered precincts; and annulment of election results for Vice President in the provinces of Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, and Basilan on the ground of alleged terrorism, intimidation, and harassment of voters, as well as pre-shading of ballots in all of the 2,756 protested clustered precincts.
In his protest, Marcos named the provinces of Camarines Sur, Iloilo, and Negros Oriental as his pilot areas for the recount and revision of ballots.
In its decision, the PET said that “based on the final tally after revision and appreciation of the votes in the pilot provinces, protestee Robredo maintained, as in fact she increased her lead with 14,436,337 votes over protestant Marcos who obtained 14,157,771 votes. After the revision and appreciation, the lead of protestee Robredo increased from 263,473 to 278,566.”
In his motion, Marcos pleaded the PET to direct the Commission on Elections to conduct the technical examination of the voters’ signatures appearing on the Election Day Computerized Voter’s List (EDCVL) as against the voters’ signatures appearing on the Voters Registration Records (VRRs) in the protested clustered precincts of the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, and Basilan relative to the third cause of action.
According to Marcos, the PET should conduct another preliminary conference and proceed with the presentation of evidence for his third cause of action.
He cited several grounds to justify the reconsideration of the decision.
Marcos said the tribunal erred when it ruled that his allegations were insufficient after ruling that his protest is sufficient in form and content.
He stressed that the tribunal erred in not considering the annulment of election results as an independent, distinct, and separate cause of action, which can proceed on its own despite the dismissal of his action for judicial revision and recounting of ballots.
At the same time, Marcos said the tribunal erred in dismissing his third cause of action without affording him the opportunity to present evidence.