By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard Today
The Supreme Court, acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal, has been asked to set the electoral protest of former senator and losing vice presidential bet Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. against Vice President Leni Robredo for preliminary conference.
Marcos, through his legal counsel Vic Rodriguez, filed on Thursday before the PET an ex parte motion seeking a preliminary conference so that his poll protest could now proceed.
“Today, Senator Marcos presses on with his quest and march for truth with the filing of an ex-parte motion to set the case for preliminary conference. The motion is very important as we expect the PET to usually dispose of this incident with such dispatch and urgency so that the case will come into motion,” Rodriguez said when interviewed after filing the motion.
“The importance of our ex-parte motion is a prayer to have a continuing hearing of the election protest and we hope the Tribunal would set a date for the preliminary conference,” he added.
According to him, once the case is submitted for preliminary conference, then both parties will submit a preliminary conference brief.
A preliminary conference is intended to consider and address the following issues:
--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 other matters that may aid in the prompt disposition of the electoral protest.
The lawyer explained at present, the electoral protest of his client was not moving because the PET had yet to issue a date for the preliminary conference.
“No movement yet on the case because we are waiting for the Court to issue an order for the preliminary conference. Once the preliminary conference is held, the election protest can no longer be stopped,” Rodriguez stressed.
Based on the 2010 Rules of the PET, a preliminary conference is held after the last pleadings from the parties to the case have been submitted.
Rodriguez said the last pleading had been filed and served as early as September last year.
Marcos earlier said he decided to file the electoral protest due to the series of frauds, anomalies and irregularities that marred the May 9 elections and that such activities made sure he would lose to Robredo, the vice presidential candidate of the administration’s Liberal Party.
Robredo came away as the winner of the vice presidential race with 14,418,817 votes or 263,473 more than Marcos who got 14,155,344 votes.