By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard Today
THE camp of former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Monday slammed Vice President Leni Robredo for resorting to dilatory tactics to prevent the immediate resolution of the election protest he filed against the latter.
In an 11-page reply to Robredo’s opposition of his motion to set the case for preliminary conference, Marcos through his counsel George Erwin Garcia stressed the vice president’s objection was “obviously dilatory” because, by law, the Tribunal could have set the same as early as Sept. 9, 2016.
Robredo’s opposition was designed to prevent the truth about the massive cheating conducted in the May 2016 elections from coming out, Marcos lamented.
They lamented that more than five months have lapsed since the filing of the “Answer Ad Cautelam to the Counter-Protest,” the last pleading in this case.
“It thus behooves this Honorable Tribunal to immediately schedule the conduct of the Preliminary Conference in this case as mandated by its own Rules of Procedure. Protestee Robredo’s opposition to the setting of the Preliminary Conference is obviously dilatory in nature. This Honorable Tribunal should not be swayed by her ambiguous and distorted arguments,” the pleading stated.
The Marcos camp branded as “misleading” Robredo’s argument that the PET should resolve first the other pending incidents before it considering that a preliminary conference could be scheduled.
Garcia said “In a long line of decided cases, the Supreme Court has held that in an election protest, different causes of action can proceed independently of each other.
“This is because the sovereign will of the people is the core issue in an election protest. Thus, the purpose of a Preliminary Conference is precisely to avoid unnecessary delays and speed up the process so that the people’s voice will be heard.”
Garcia said the issues brought up by Robredo regarding the numerous unused SD cards which were found to have data, problems with the diagnostics which led to the shutting down of the servers in the Comelec warehouse in Sta. Rosa, Laguna as well as other procedural matters would be discussed in the Preliminary Conference.
“These matters could be threshed out during the conference in order to achieve a just, inexpensive, orderly and expeditious disposition of the election contest,” Garcia said.
“The conduct of the Preliminary Conference cannot be stifled by the pending incidents in this case,” the lawyer added.
Garcia also accused Robredo of raising issues that have no bearing to the scheduling of a Preliminary Conference.
He noted the election protest filed by Roxas against former Vice President Jejomar Binay wherein it took the PET only two months after the filing of the petition to schedule the Preliminary Conference on Sept. 30, 2010.